Joséphin Bastière

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L'art HyperBrut
- Discover -

Have you ever felt a form of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness in posters stuck then torn ?

Or in metal that rusts and cracks from the paint ?

Or in the arrangement of several chewing gums on a piece of pavement ?

Or the harmony of a facade that is deteriorating over time ?

Or in a stain you would have done one day ?

I gave a word to these different forms of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness, and that word is GesteBrut. Then I created an art form, HyperBrut art, in order to exhibit the GesteBrut ( GestureBrut ). This happened in the year 2014 and since then my drawings, paintings, writings come from the reuse of this form of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness. The work Universe 0 also comes from all this and it proposes an end, a beginning and a center to this HyperBrut art.

To explain in more detail, let me tell you the story of a door. That door is this one :

The story is that I wanted to repaint this door completely. But when I started painting it, the first stroke of the brush surprised and unsettled me. I was surprised and unsettled as I was doing it, and also by the result of my work, because I felt something balanced, harmonious, aesthetic, or strange in that first stroke.

By comparison, in the paintings or drawings I had done before, I tended to cover the support and then add more and more details, but I never had the feeling of completing what I was doing :

While in that brushstroke on the door, both in the moment and in theresult, I felt the sensation of a final brushstroke through it, without even seeking it, like Zorro realizing with surprise that he has just signed. Another metaphor I used was that of the first stone laid to build a building, a stone that is decisive for the building.

After that brushstroke, eight steps marked my journey towards HyperBrut art.

The first step was that I put down my brush. I really wanted to repaint that door, but the brushstroke had unsettled and surprised me so much that I reluctantly stopped to wait. Wait for what ? I didn’t know, and in the end, I never continued painting, and that door remained as it was :

The second step was that I gradually discovered, day by day, experience by experience, that there were several balances, harmonies, aesthetics, and oddities in my daily life, similar to my brushstroke. I have already mentioned the posters that are pasted and peeled off, the rusted metal, the arrangement of chewing gums, a building facade that deteriorates with time, a stain, but I can name a few others, such as the shape of a tree with its branches, or the accidents on its bark :

The distribution that the different gravels that make up a path can have :

Or the path traced by a crack in a wall, the arrangement of pencils in a jar, the shards of a glass that has just broken, the movement of a plastic bag in a light wind, the humidity in a corner of a wall, etc.

Do you see what I am talking about ? If so, for me these forms of balance, harmony, aesthetics, strangeness are similar to each other, and I find the same form in the brushstroke made on the door.
The third step is that I was able to share with other people, this feeling of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness. Some people understood and shared this feeling with their own words, others perceived it less or not at all.
The fourth step is that I started to reuse this form of balance in my painting, then drawing, then writing. I explain this fourth step in more detail in the next part Reuse.

The fourth step is that after meeting and sharing these sensations of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness, I tried to name them. At first I used words from the dictionary and the one I used the most was geste-brut. But sometimes I said gesture-natural, gesture-spontaneous, gesture-first, or result-first, result-spontaneous, result-natural, result-brut… However, everyone heard it in their own way, and I didn’t find it precise enough. So I decided to create a word, a new word, and that word is GesteBrut ( GestureBrut).

That is to say, to name the brushstroke, I said it was a GesteBrut. The same goes for chewing gum, building facades, rusty metal, etc. And it was quite practical because this new word made it possible to name this balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness, by taking a path that had not yet been worked out by the vocabulary.

So GesteBrut is a common masculine invariable noun written with a capital G, a capital B, and its definition is :

GesteBrut : Set of gestures and results of gestures that has a form of balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness.

The definition remains to be improved. Besides, a precision that I will add, it is that the balance, harmony, aestheticism, strangeness, come from a tension between a thought side and a side not thought. Let me explain. I had thought of repainting this door, but I had not thought of how the first brush stroke would be made to repaint it. That is to say, it’s not a coincidence that this brushstroke ended up on this door, but what is more coincidental is the form that this brushstroke took, like the drips at its beginning or its scattered filling at the end. The same goes for metal, where we thought of painting and adding a protection against water, for so many years, but we didn’t know which hazards would lead to such and such degradations, and then the rust that would result. The same goes for chewing gum that was designed to be sold, but where it was not foreseen how it would end up in relation to each other if it fell out of a trash can. And so on.

With hindsight, and apart from the definition, I would like to add that through this GesteBrut that was the brushstroke, I was able to see the initial conditions in which I had begun to carry it out, and the final consequences that this repainted door would have had if I had continued to repaint it in these same conditions, like the image of the first stone laid to build a building. However, I should point out that I did not see everything, but only some elements. For example, I could see in the initial conditions that I had made this brushstroke standing up, from the centre upwards, with a brush, leaving the door on its hinges, and that I had not put any protection on myself or around the door against possible paint stains, hence the location, safety and stress visible in this brushstroke. And as a final consequence, I perceived that if I had continued to repaint that door under those conditions, I would have most likely stained the handle, the floor, myself, and the door would not have been so well repainted.
And to go even further, I also saw what I called the sparks, that is to say the things that made that in all these initial conditions, I had brought about this outline of final consequences. And I would say that the sparks are everything that animated the realisation of this gesture. For example, the part of the ideal that imagined being able to repaint this door with a click, without staining it, or the part of the pleasure that was happy to make this choice, or the part of laziness that advised not to use stain protectors, or the part of fear that was afraid of staining, or the part of need that wanted to repaint this door, and there are also many others that I forget or that I am not aware of.

To illustrate the initial conditions, sparks, final consequences, I took the example of the brush stroke but it is the same for all the other GesteBrut.

The sixth step is that in addition to naming the GesteBrut, I tried to catch them and show them. And to do this, my first reflex was to take pictures like the ones I have already shown you. The first GesteBrut I met and photographed, after the brushstroke on the door, was a glass jar in which I had just put a plastic cap, because it was in this jar that I had undertaken to recycle them :

But at the moment I had just done this gesture, I had the feeling that what I had just done was balanced, as if I were in a play, as a spectator of my gesture, performing a self-portrait in which I removed a plastic cap in order to put it in the little recycling jar.In spite of the comical spin, if I had been able to put cameras in to film this gesture, without paying attention to it, I could have shown it to you by saying look at this, this was really me, at that moment, doing this. But in addition to this gesture, I also noticed that all the elements that were in the pot, including the stopper that I had just put in, the whole thing had a form of balance in its arrangement, as if it were a sculpture. And I was noticing all this and thinking that it looked like what had happened with the brush stroke on the door. Then I wondered if it was a GesteBrut, and I took a picture to see if it was possible to share that feeling of balance.

With hindsight, I can confirm that this balance too came from a thought and not thought side. I had thought about putting my cork in the pot, not knowing how I was going to put it, nor how it would be precisely installed in relation to the other corks. But after taking the photo, what also confused me was that I tried to move the cork I had just put in slightly to see if it would still be balanced. Then once it was moved, I couldn’t find an answer. However the jar was full, so I went to empty it into the building’s recycling bin, and once the caps from the jar had landed on the already existing pile in the bin, I realised that their arrangement was also balanced, and that the gesture I had just made, although I hadn’t noticed it as much as the one before, seemed to be balanced. Then, still confused, I went back to my room to put my empty recycling jar back, and I saw over the weeks a new sculpture of corks being built.

And so, whenever possible, I began a collection of photos of the various GesteBrut I encountered, the goal being to find the best examples to share that GesteBrut feeling. A pile of fallen leaves in the fall, electric wires cutting through the sky, the shape of a cloud, a crumpled handkerchief, a filled trash can, a damaged car body, the pen I just put on my desk between various other objects, etc.

However, among all the examples I could find, there is one in particular that I want to share. In my university, it was possible in some rooms to paint on the walls, and there were walls where several paintings had been hung and then unhung, but where the brushstrokes that had spilled over the walls when they were created, had combined to form large frescoes of Gestebrut. And I share this example with you, because I find it particularly resonant, as it seems to me both similar and opposite to the brushstrokes made on the door :

But the photo was not enough for me, and this for several reasons, the main one being that I have never met someone who via only one photo immediately understood, without any explanation, that it was the GesteBrut and its famous balance.

So I tried to catch and show audio GesteBrut, such as the sound of a bar on a busy night, or the sound of a TV screen when it’s snowing, or the sound of a fork falling on tiles.

I also tried to make installations to catch and show GesteBrut, like putting tablecloths at a dinner party to collect them afterwards, or a frame to directly frame GesteBrut.

Then I tried the video. Once, while walking down the street, I realized that the intersection I was walking through, with all the pedestrians walking around, was a GesteBrut. So I tried to film but with the video and the means I had, it was not very conclusive. The ideal would have been to have a dozen cameras mounted on twenty-meter high hanging legs, all of which could film the intersection from all angles. Or even more ideal would have been to be able to extract the whole of these pedestrians, without modifying them, to put them in the best possible conditions in order to capture under all the angles, by cameras, still cameras, or by our own eyes, the whole of the considered subject. But not having these means at disposal, I tried to find another solution.

The seventh step was that in order to catch and show GesteBrut, the next solution was to sign GesteBrut directly at the place where they were. For this I had prepared stickers with my signature on them. It was a signature with my first name in the form of a barcode, because realising that there were a lot of GesteBrut, I felt that I was going to turn into a signing machine, and I felt that the barcode with my first name would symbolise both a unique and repetitive aspect :

But in the end I didn’t put up so many signature stickers, because there were several disadvantages to this method. For example, in the case of the intersection between the two streets, on the day I put up a signature sticker, I didn’t know what precise moment I was catching and showing. Was it the moment I put the signature sticker up ? Or was it the whole period during which it remained in place ? But then, what limits to what I exhibit ? And then, if there is no longer anyone passing by, what continues to be exhibited ? And what bothered me the most was that the signature distorted what I was exhibiting. That is, it was no longer just the intersection of these two streets, it became the intersection of these two streets with my signature, and if someone were to notice the signature sticker then they would find themselves looking at the tip of the finger that is trying to show the GesteBrut.

Because of these various drawbacks, I didn’t so much put up signature stickers, but in addition in the case of the intersection between the two streets, at the moment I put up a signature sticker, I felt the sensation of doing a GesteBrut, as strongly as my brush stroke on the door, or my bottle cap. Of course I had thought about putting my signature sticker down, but I had not, for example, thought about how exactly I was going to make my movement to put it down. And yet, I saw through it that it was indeed me, at that moment, squatting at that place to put my signature sticker for such and such reasons, on that intersection. And after this feeling of GesteBrut, all this left me with a feeling of going the wrong way, as if it would have been better if I had put a signature sticker of myself putting a signature sticker.

This feeling of being caught off guard has happened to me several times. In fact, it’s the same feeling I get when I notice a GesteBrut or try to show or explain it. As soon as I noticed the balance flowing through that intersection, I had the sensation of being caught off guard because that balance was changing shape. It was no longer the intersection of the two streets I lived with, it became the intersection of the two streets I still lived with but whose balance I had just noticed. And as soon as I try to expose a GesteBrut or to explain it, as for example at the moment, I have the sensation of trying to seize a soap that slips between the hands, because as in the image of putting a self-signature of me putting a self-signature, I have the sensation of seeing that the GesteBrut that appears is the one of me who is explaining or showing the GesteBrut. So I looked for another way to catch and show the GesteBrut.

The eighth and last step is that after the signature, the next solution was to create an art form. This art form I called HyperBrut art :


At the beginning I said art Brut, but that already existed, then I added the prefix Hyper in order to give art HyperBrut, in the image of the realistic art and the hyperrealist art. But above all, I gave as a function to this HyperBrut art to expose all the GesteBrut, perceived or not, directly at the place where they are, at the moment they occur. As if in an ideal way, this form of art was in charge of catching and showing all the GesteBrut permanently, under all the angles, at any scale, by putting, always in an ideal way, a signature to each one of them, signature which is renewed at each moment, transforming them all into works of HyperBrut art. The signature is not a name, but a description of the initial conditions, sparks, and final consequences composing the considered subject, thus resembling a cartel next to a work exposed in a museum.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the scope of this art. Any photograph is a GesteBrut, the way the photograph was taken is also a GesteBrut, the way the photograph is displayed is also a GesteBrut, the disposition of the audience in front of the displayed photograph is also a GesteBrut, and all of this is displayed by HyperBrut art. Other examples, any film or image generated by an artificial intelligence or “Mona Lisa” painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, are GesteBrut, the ways in which this painting or image or any film is exposed, are GesteBrut, the disposition of the public is also a GesteBrut, and all this is exposed again by HyperBrut art. It is the same for your sink, the corner of your street, the objects or actions that make your daily life or whatever.

It is possible to perceive in HyperBrut art a form of Dadaism, surrealism, or a form of ready-made, more mature than these art forms. I would also say that it is possible to perceive in HyperBrut art echoes of Daniel Spoerri’s trap paintings, John Cage’s 4’33″ work, John Pollock’s dripping, Lewis Baltz’s photographs, Jacques Villeglé’s torn posters, or Kazuo Shiraga’s works, to name a few. It is also possible to perceive in HyperBrut art a very ample form of street art, land art, or performance art.

But do you understand the amount of GesteBrut that this concept allows you to catch and show, simultaneously, nested within each other ? And beyond not having to catch or show the GesteBrut, I was able to live with HyperBrut art little by little. It gives the feeling of living in a kind of museum-exhibition. And that’s what I called doing HyperBrutalism. And in my opinion, that’s what I do. That is, I may or may not perceive GesteBrut, but I know that all GesteBrut are ideally exhibited by HyperBrut art and to discover, accept, or understand that is to do HyperBrutalism.

At this point, since you are discovering HyperBrut art, you too are starting to do HyperBrutalism. And if you follow enough, it is likely that you will ask yourself if it would not be the end of contemporary art to leave place to contemporary HyperBrutalized art. The question deserves to be asked, in my opinion.

But in the HyperBrutalism that I develop, that is to say my own way of living with HyperBrut art, I try to improve the initial conditions that surround me, as well as the sparks that animate me, and the final consequences induced. And let’s say that in this improvement, I try to put more and more consciousness in the choices I make, transforming as best I can the gestures into acts.

At the time of the creation of the HyperBrut art, I tended to monopolize what could be caught and shown by it, finding myself for example telling a painter friend that he should not touch his color palette anymore because it was a GesteBrut and that I wished to take it as is for my next exhibition. I even considered that everything that could be produced was my property since it was exposed by HyperBrut art and that I had discovered this concept of art. But I gradually changed my way of looking at this concept and my ego, and that was by considering that HyperBrut art existed before I gave it a name.

Then as time went on, I didn’t have to tell everyone about HyperBrut art, and that solved this problem of putting up a sticker-signature of me putting up a sticker-signature, because HyperBrut art taken in a certain sense, offered me the possibility of not having to explain what HyperBrut art is. This sense was to tell myself that if HyperBrut art under this name or any other, is really necessary, then it would be discovered, described, and explained, one day or another, by someone or by me. And I chose this direction because it seemed to me to be the most judicious to evolve, since in addition to not having to preach HyperGross art, it allowed me to explore with my imagination, the various consequences that such a form of art could entail if it were commonly known and accepted by a society like the one I live in.

The idea for the HyperBrut art concept, as I may have already told you, began to germinate in late September 2014, where the brushstroke on the door had occurred in early 2014. As my approach with HyperBrutalism began, I found myself confronted with several questions that were :

– At first, I was looking to see if there was a limit or in other words, if there were things that would not be GesteBrut. So far, I haven’t found any. Then I asked myself if my role was to be a spectator of this museum-exhibition. By experience, I quickly realized that by being a spectator of the course of a dinner for example, or of other GesteBrut, just the fact of being a spectator, it modified the course of the dinner, and I found myself at the same time spectator and actor. I also wondered if I should keep everything that could be GesteBrut, such as the stains. But I realized that when I clean a stain, it makes a GesteBrut, but more importantly, I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by keeping thousands of GesteBruts. I also wondered if my body was a GesteBrut, if the words we use, composed of their oddly shaped letters, were GesteBruts, if cities with their buildings, countries with their borders, mountain ranges with their reliefs, were GesteBruts. But then, the reconstructed balances for theater or film sets, are they false GesteBrut ? Or are they different GesteBrut ? And the video editors on the internet who play with the different hazards that may have occurred during the shooting, or the clowns who improvise with the public, are they also GesteBrut ? The reality TV series that film from all angles, all day long, the doings of different people, is this not an attempt to catch GesteBrut and expose them ? The same goes for social networks where users post different photos of their daily lives? And all these media that expose GesteBrut, isn’t it a form of materialization of this museum-exhibition that is the concept of HyperBrut art ? Does the HyperBrut art expose the works already exposed in museums ? And does the HyperBrut art also expose the museums ? Is HyperBrut art a GesteBrut that would be exposed by HyperBrut art ? Is it necessary to sort the GesteBrut, as the one that would be anodyne or artisan, industrial, historical, theatrical, cinematic, television, exposed, state, natural… ?

But as of 2016, in my opinion, there were only three main ones. The first was whether there was a limit to Hyperbrut art. That is, whether there was an end to this museum-exhibition, an edge, a wall, or whether there were things that were not GesteBrut, and therefore could not be exhibited. The second question was whether there was a singularity, that is to say a GesteBrut or perhaps several, more special than the others, more particular, more fundamental, as if, in comparison with the museum-exhibition, there would be a masterpiece among all the artworks. And the third question was to know what place I occupied within this museum-exhibition, as well as you. The shortest answer I can give, for these three questions, with the hindsight I have in 2021, is that HyperBrut art has no limits, that the singularity is at the same time you, me, us, and everything else, and that our place inside this museum-exhibition is to be a singularity. This answer exists in a more pictorial form in the Univers 0. I quote it quickly but it was Universe 0, discovered in mid 2016, that allowed me to propose a final and central point to HyperBrut art, HyperBrutalism and its questions.

Here you are with a description of HyperBrut art. What is the use of this art, you might ask. As an answer, I propose that if it speaks to you, so much the better, if it does not speak to you, it is not serious. As far as I am concerned, this art allows me with a specific approach to see my daily life as a work of art, a huge GesteBrut in a way. It also allows me, as I said, to be more and more conscious of the choices I make. And this art also allowed me to reuse this form of balance, because next to this concept, there was another more concrete side, in which I reused the GesteBrut and its balance in drawing, painting and writing. You can discover this more concrete side in the next part : Reuse.