André Robillard

*1931, France

André Robillard was born in Gien, a town in central France. After his parents separated he lived with his father, a gamekeeper, who was violent.

He often accompanied his father into the forest, had contact with animals and was allowed to carry his father’s gun. At the age of nine he went to a special residential school attached to the psychiatric clinic in Fleury-les-Aubrais, under the headship of psychiatrist Georges Daumézon. He was admitted to the psychiatric institution at the age of 19, with a nervous disorder, after wilful damage to property. His condition improved gradually and he was able to work in the garden and kitchen of the psychiatric clinic, living on the grounds although no longer a patient. From 1964 onwards he worked at the wastewater plant that also belonged to the clinic. He began to collect certain waste materials which he used to model his first guns. Eventually the psychiatrist Paul Renard showed these pieces to Jean Dubuffet in Paris. After this, André Robillard was invited to Paris several times by Jean Dubuffet, who bought some works for his own collection and continued to correspond with him until 1983. When the Collection de l’Art Brut opened in Lausanne in 1976, Robillard’s guns were part of the first exhibition. Today he is one of the last living artists whose work was personally acquired by Jean Dubuffet for his collection. Between 1980 and 1982 he was invited to Lausanne several times by Michel Thévoz. In 1982 an article about Robillard was published in the Publications de la Collection de l’Art Brut, Fascicule 11. After this he was also included in the L’Aracine collection. In 1999, together with the artist Eric Moinat, he visited the House of Artists in Gugging, where he met August Walla. Robillard’s other artistic work was inspired by books, magazines and television. The moon landings and space vehicles made a particularly strong impression on him. He also produced planes, sputniks and animals made out of debris. His drawings, in felt pen or coloured pencil, some with similar motifs to his models, and others with themes such as planets, have a very clear and direct visual language. Robillard has taken part in numerous international Art Brut exhibitions over the course of his life. Since 1990 he has lived with his songbirds in the house of the former cook, on the premises of the psychiatric clinic. He loves the accordion and collects musical instruments. In 2015 Robillard was presented with an official award in France. In recent years his work has been particularly promoted and collected by Frédéric Lux, in France, who has increasingly influenced his artistic output.

 

Selected works