Bricoleurs transform everyday objects into visionary art environments. These installations can be found out in the open space, in peoples’ backyards, in the middle of the city or surrounded by nature. They are made from bottles, cement, tires, hay bales and anything their creators could find. Bricoleurs shape these materials into a vivid and interior language.
We visit five American bricoleurs who create these big landscapes using only their hands and simple tools, despite lack of money, health, time and support. They share their struggles, dreams and ways of life. As their bodies and the artworks are aging, it is the community that either saves or destroys their work. Their testimony is a triumph of creativity. An ode to dreams and imagination in a lesser known America.
I grew up in France close to Ferdinand Cheval's Palais Idéal, a palace from the 19th century, constructed by a mailman from the rocks he found on his mailroute. I've always been touched by the ambition and creativity of this artist, and was curious about his own viewpoints of the palace.
I set out to find similar artists in the United States, where this tradition is still vibrant. I am interested in the creation of a visual language that is a direct expression of the mind. Bricoleurs speak their mind through the materials. Their need for expression often comes from dark experiences. These artworks are often referred to as 'outsider art', art that has been created organically, outside of the main art institutions. In the film we focus on the everyday materials and objects from up close. Animator Sverre Frederiksen will add animations to dive deeper into the materials.
These art installations cannot survive through the efforts of a single person. They are magnets that attract people from everywhere around the world, people who literally walk into the dreams of the artist and decide to help him share his vision. The sense of community coming from the artworks was my biggest surprise while making this film. I am very moved by the energy that comes from the artworks. With my film I wish to spread this energy further.
The current version of the film is a work-in-progress of roughly 70 minutes. Everything so far was done by a motivated crew that worked on it freely for the love of the subject.
To be able to finish the film, however, we need your help. The sound editing, mix, color grading and the animations all need to be worked on. Unfortunately, these are all quite costly affairs, so we hope you can help out!
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This project is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts).