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Photo courtesy of the Outsider Art Fair

Frieze New York 2019

Expert eye: Javier Téllez

The Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez has partnered with the Outsider Art Fair to present a curated space at Frieze New York

The New York-based Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez has partnered with the Outsider Art Fair and several international art galleries and private collectors to present a special exhibition at Frieze New York called The Doors of Perception. An homage to the visionary artist and writer William Blake, the presentation includes more than 40 self-taught artists who “like Blake, created art after having visions with the paranormal, either with aliens or with god or with angels or hell”, Téllez says. This is what he had to say about selected pieces in the exhibition and from the fair.

George Widener Megalopolis 2143, Rare Twins (2008) The Cincinnati-born artist, who has been diagnosed with autism, creates mixed-media works that “deal with numbers, codes, calendars and repetition”, Téllez says. Widener is known to visit casinos in Las Vegas, where he often wins big “because he obsessively memorises sequences, combinations and numbers—like Rain Man”, Téllez says.
Casey Fatchett

George Widener Megalopolis 2143, Rare Twins (2008) The Cincinnati-born artist, who has been diagnosed with Aspergers, creates mixed-media works that “deal with numbers, codes, calendars and repetition, including dates related to important moments in his life and historical events”, Téllez says. He adds, “He invests those numbers with a deep symbolic importance similar to Kabbalah numerology”.

Lubos Plny Sternum (2013)  The Czech painter creates abstract anatomical pieces often embedded with organic materials such as blood and hair. Plny “shows the body in a state of becoming”, Téllez says. In his work, “the internal and external—the inner psyche and the outer body—collapse as one”, he says.
Casey Fatchett

Lubos Plny Sternum (2013) The Czech painter creates abstract anatomical pieces often embedded with organic materials such as blood and hair. Plny “shows the body in a state of becoming”, Téllez says. In his work, “the internal and external—the inner psyche and the outer body—collapse as one”, he says.

Bárbaro Rivas Indios lavando (Indians Washing) (1961) The late Venezuelan painter “was homeless for a long time and he was a very religious man; his work often references the Bible and depicts indigenous people”, Téllez says. He adds: “He was influential to formalist painters in the 1960s, after he was discovered by the critic Francisco da Antonio, but it was important to show his work here because it’s been virtually unseen in New York.”
Casey Fatchett

Bárbaro Rivas Indios lavando (Indians Washing) (1961) The late Venezuelan painter “was homeless for a long time and he was a very religious man; his work often references the Bible and depicts indigenous people”, Téllez says. He adds: “He was influential to informalist painters in the 1960s, after he was discovered by the critic Francisco da Antonio, but it was important to show his work here because it’s been virtually unseen in New York.”

Ken Grimes In Western America… (1997) The Connecticut-based artist, who has been diagnosed  with paranoid schizophrenia, creates work “that deals with the concept of codes and decoding, particularly relating to aliens”, Téllez says, adding: “Sometimes what is clinically considered paranoia I believe has more to do with the obsession, where artists are attempting to decode the universes that exist within them.”
Casey Fatchett

Ken Grimes In Western America… (1997) The Connecticut-based artist, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, creates work “that deals with the concept of codes and decoding, particularly relating to aliens”, Téllez says, adding: “Sometimes what is clinically considered paranoia I believe has more to do with the obsession, where artists are attempting to decode the universes that exist within them.”

Adolf Wölfli Bänggaalisches Feuerwärk (Bangali Firework) (1926) Likely one of the best-known artists in The Doors of Perception, Wölfli (1864-1930) “explored the idea of metamorphosis and higher being”, Téllez says. “Like many artists, especially Outsider artists, Wölfli was exploring the idea of higher conscious by creating intricate mandalas and sacred symbols.”
Casey Fatchett

Adolf Wölfli Bänggaalisches Feuerwärk (Bangali Firework) (1926) Likely one of the best-known artists in The Doors of Perception, Wölfli (1864-1930) “explored the idea of metamorphosis and higher being”, Téllez says. “Like many artists, especially Outsider artists, Wölfli was exploring the idea of higher conscious by creating intricate mandalas and sacred symbols.”

Yüksel Arslan Arture 439, Sans Titre, L’Homme (1992) Galerist/Nev The late Turkish artist, whose work often includes organic materials such as urine and sperm, moved to Paris in the mid 1950s at the invitation of the Surrealist co-founder André Breton, who was organising an exhibition that Arslan ultimately declined to participate in. “He didn’t want to be a part of any movement”, says Doris Benhalegua, the managing director of Istanbul’s Galerist.
Casey Fatchett

Yüksel Arslan Arture 439, Sans Titre, L’Homme (1992) Galerist/Nev The late Turkish artist, whose work often includes organic materials such as urine and sperm, moved to Paris in the mid 1950s at the invitation of the Surrealist co-founder André Breton, who was organising an exhibition that Arslan ultimately declined to participate in. “He didn’t want to be a part of any movement”, says Doris Benhalegua, the managing director of Istanbul’s Galerist.

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa Reivindicación de la propiedad tangible 1 (Vindication of Tangible Property 1) (2018) Proyectos Ultravioleta In this mobile, the Guatemalan artist “references the Mayan book of creation, specifically the mythology of the men of wood”, says Stefan Benchoam, the director of Proyectos Ultravioleta gallery. “These species of humans were very tied to their earthly belongings; when it rained, they were so concerned with holding on to their possessions that they drowned.”
Casey Fatchett

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa Reivindicación de la propiedad tangible 1 (Vindication of Tangible Property 1) (2018) Proyectos Ultravioleta In this mobile, the Guatemalan artist “references the Mayan book of creation, specifically the mythology of the men of wood”, says Stefan Benchoam, the director of Proyectos Ultravioleta gallery. “These species of humans were very tied to their earthly belongings; when it rained, they were so concerned with holding on to their possessions that they drowned.”