Jean Dubuffet. Theatre of the Earth

The "Phénomène", Dubuffet’s masterpiece inspired by the phenomena of nature and the soil return to Italy.

The large exhibition spaces at the Garden of Biodiversity are hosting the Jean Dubuffet exhibition, Theatre of the Earth, organised by Padua University with the assistance of UniCredit and curated by Nicola Galvan.  

The exhibition brings together Dubuffet’s 324 lithographic works and re-presents, 51 years after its first appearance in Italy, the exceptional cycle of the Phénomènes made between 1958 and 1962. Housed in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris and the MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim of New York, the 22 portfolios containing the entire cycle are coming to Padua thanks to the cooperation of the Fondation Dubuffet and the Galerie Baudoin Lebon of Paris.

In these works, as well as collecting on paper the imprints of various surfaces identified in their surrounding environments, Dubuffet applied procedures such as pulverisation, irrigation and the emulsion of liquids on lithographic stone, aiming to achieve possible visual analogies with phenomena relating to nature and the earth in particular. The outcome, still a unicum in the field of art, is a spectacular ‘atlas’ of colour and black and white images, apparently abstract and yet realistic; a precise and poetic classification of large and imperceptible, visible and invisible events, in which the artist seems to observe and reimagine the world through the eyes of the geologist, the botanist, the surveyor and the artist.

The Theatre of the Earth  is a project conceived specifically for the Garden of Biodiversity at the Padua Botanical Garden and coincides with EXPO 2015, whose title is Feeding the Planet and in which Padua University is a partner.

The exhibition is held in association with Arcadia Arte of Venice and Maco Arte of Padua.