Jean Dubuffet coined the term “Art Brut” (commonly translated as “raw art”) to describe self-taught artists presenting their experiences outside the restrictive bounds of society—think art eschewing academic tradition made by children, prisoners, or psychiatric patients. The French sculptor theorized these groups produced truthful works untrammeled by cultural norms compared to those envisioned by trained artists, whose technical and academic knowledge steers their perspectives. The philosophy inspired Galerie Philia founder Ygaël Attali to launch “Design Brut | Philia & Kids,” a workshop introducing young children to the practice of sculpture.
The workshop unfolded over five months in Breil-sur-Roya, a French village nestled in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’s Roya valley, under the supervision of teacher Virgile Ganne and designers Antoine Behaghel and Alexis Foiny of BehaghelFoiny Studio. The children freehanded shapes and sculptural ideas on paper, which were brought to life in local olive wood by BehaghelFoiny and a local cabinetmaker. Each one-of-a-kind work, along with a short documentary that, according to Attali, “questions the actual definition of furniture design,” went on view at 4 Rue Malher in Paris on Nov. 4, and will be up for grabs on Galerie Philia’s website when the exhibition closes on Dec. 8. All proceeds will be reinvested to pursue the program’s second iteration.