© Villeneuve d'Ascq, le LaM, Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut | Frédéric Iovono - LaM

Outsider Art – the stirring, offbeat art of “the mad”

These artists didn’t know they were creating Art with a capital A! The term Outsider Art was coined to describe the work of an unclassifiable group of people – they might be of humble professions, marginalised, or simply outside the cultural mainstream – who were all driven by a common creative impulse. Mercurial and sometimes confounding, this is art with no boundaries. An art that’s not subject to any rules, it surprises and fascinates!

Northern France _ Villeneuve d'Ascq _ lille métropole museum of modern contemporary and outsider art © Frédéric Iovono - LaMNorthern France _ Villeneuve d'Ascq _ lille métropole museum of modern contemporary and outsider art © Frédéric Iovono - LaM
©Northern France, Villeneuve d'Ascq, lille métropole museum of modern contemporary and outsider art |Frédéric Iovono - LaM

The LaM

Contemplate a multitude of wooden rifles that don’t seem to be designed for warcraft, giant totems, or the compelling, painstakingly meticulous paintings of coalminer Augustin Lesage.  Visit the LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq and you’ll be captivated by the surreal atmosphere generated by this plethora of drawings, paintings, assemblages, objects, and sculptures…

Everything is highly original, from the forms to the media used, which in some cases can be an array of junk piled up.

This collection of Outsider Art ranks among the most important in Europe, and is regularly expanded. It currently holds more than 5,500 works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, whose extremely varied nature appeals strongly to children.

This is a world to be explored without prejudice, where you can experience art in its rawest state and think about the creative process from a fresh angle.

Local's tip

Olivier Duhamel Villeneuve D'ascqOlivier Duhamel Villeneuve D'ascq
Lac du Héron lake in Villeneuve d’Ascq

I live just next door to Lac du Héron, in the Annappes district of Lille. Within five minutes of jumping on my bike at home, I’m in a forest right at the heart of nature and far away from busy city life. Whether on foot or two wheels, I can skirt around the whole lake, which is an impressive 16-kilometre loop taking in the districts of Forest-sur-Marque and Hem. Whatever the time of year, it’s a pleasant and tranquil place to be, in spring when nature is making its comeback, in summer when people come to relax after work, and in autumn: the best time of year to admire the trees’ glorious spectrum of colour…

Olivier DUHAMEL’s first love is modern architecture in and around Lille

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