Picture-relief, wood, textile,
After studying at the Arhem School of Fine
Arts, Mark Brusse left Holland in 1959 and
went to Paris. His work (‘Clôtures’
[Enclosures] and ‘Soft Machine’ series)
began with wooden sculptures, large
ambiguous assemblages conjuring up useless
machines, torture instruments and huge farm
tools. They were made with found wood and
various metal objects found in the street.
During the 1960s, he lived in Paris, New
York and Berlin. Switching countries
encouraged encounters and visual
experiments. Without belonging to any one
particular trend, he was close to several.
In Paris, Nouveau Réalisme by dint of his
use of materials taken from reality; in New
York, Minimalism by virtue of the size and
monumentality of the pieces produced; in
Berlin, Fluxus, happenings and street
actions. In the 1970s, he devised a ‘Don’t
Forget’ series, calling to mind the Dadaist
use of wordplay and nonsense, and
Surrealism, through its erotic dimension.
In ‘Privat Clinic’, a series from the
1980s, Mark Brusse seems this time to be
closer to an expressive use of objects
and materials. Their properties become
symbolic: hardness of wood, drips evoking
wounds, laboratory and hospital pipettes,
all contrast with the gentle softness of
cushions, the comforting presence of the
house, and the repetition of the daily
round conveyed by towels.
Here we can see an influence or echo of
Joseph Beuys and his energetic and
metaphorical recourse to recurrent
materials: grease, copper, felt. There is
also a kinship with Art Brut in the absence
of formalism, through the direct capture of
the onlooker and through the expression of
an inner necessity.
The installation evokes creation as a
private, obsessive, repetitive exorcism.
The title Privat Clinic, common to the
whole series that the work belongs to,
points at once to care and individual
character. This is an anti-monument,
something that does not transmit: neither
an episode nor a memory. And yet here,
everything speaks of memory. Buried goingson,
unspeakable words, distorted images –
we are in a psychic landscape: objects are
charged with alluvia, original sensations,
and disguised affects.
But it is because they are not explicit
that we can invest them with our own
(hi)story. And it is because this memory
is not collective that it becomes ours.