ART NO FILTER- Discover with us the Art Brut Center Gugging

The Art Brut Center Gugging. A MUST SEE! This is certainly nothing like your average art museum.

The Munchies Art Club visited the Art Brut museum gugging, a half hour drive from Vienna, towards Klosterneuburg, lower Austria.

Gugging comprises a museum, a gallery and a public studio, an exhibition space for the Gugging artists and international artists from the Art Brut movement.

Gugging was formerly a Psychiatric Clinic.

The Psychiatric clinic Maria Gugging was founded in 1889.

In 1981, the psychiatrist Leo Navratil founded there, the Center for Art and Psychotherapy for artistically talented patients.

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Hans Langner | A house of artists traveling

In 1986, the psychiatrist Johann Feilacher took over Navratil’s position and changed its name to House of Artists.

Today, the House of Artists is a model for psychiatric reform based on art therapy for psychiatric patients to assist them in their healing process and integrate them into society.

Navratil and Feilacher both found that creativity can be one of the best outlets for dealing with mental disorders.

What is the meaning of Art Brut?

Art Brut, or "raw art," is creative expression outside conventional artistic norms, often by untrained individuals.

Coined by Jean Dubuffet, it encompasses works by children, psychiatric patients, and others on the margins of society.

It emphasizes raw creativity, untainted by rules or expectations, and has influenced contemporary art.

The Art Brut Center Gugging is no longer a clinic, and its residents are no longer called patients.

Today its residents are second- and third-generation artists, living there as part of the House of Artists.

The artist residency is just a few steps below the museum. It functions as an onsite assisted-living facility, offering the artists a space to live comfortably, independently, and allowing them the freedom to fully focus on their work.

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The Atrium | Johann Garber Gallery Gugging


The creator of Art Brut was Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet (1901–1985) a French painter and sculptor.

Dubuffet called art brut-

“Works Created From Solitude And From Pure Creative Impulses—Where The Worries Of Competition, Acclaim, And Social Promotion Do Not Interfere—Are, Because Of These Very Facts, More Precious Than The Productions Of Professionals.”
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Museum Gugging Art Brut Center: Artist Arnold Schmidt expressive paintings

The culture of mainstream art, Dubuffet believed, was driven by an urge to incorporate every imaginative artistic development, and in doing so depriving it of its unabridged power.

Art Brut is art in its raw state, unstifled by established forms and currents, and also known as outsider art or raw art.


On view till 05.03.2023

Johann Feilacher presents in this ecxhibition his personal favorites – from Art Brut, to Contemporary Art, Tribal Art and artifacts.

In this exhibition you can view the works from artists such as Mary T. Smith, Heinrich Anton Muller, Judith Scott, Michel Nedjar, Leos Wertheimer, Martin Ramirez, Simone Pellegrini, August Walla and tribal art from New Guinea.

Johann Feilacher was born 1954 in Korinthia, Austria.

After over 40 years of experience curating art brut exhibitions and working together with Gugging he founded in 2006 the museum gugging together with Nina Katschnig taking on the position of curator and artistic director.

BRUT FAVORITES.! FEILACHER'S CHOICE is Feilacher’s  last exhibition for the museum as its artistic director.



Leonhard Fink was born in 1982.

He grew up with his parents and four siblings in Lower Austria.

His father a geographer and geologist, influenced Fink’s interest in these subjects.

Fink began psychiatric treatment at 17, the same time he started creating his first drawings showing clear signs of his artistic talent.

In 2001 he began regularly visiting the open studio Gugging where he developed his own distinctive and very concise form of artistic expression.

Fink’s work consists almost entirely of pencil drawings, and is primarily focused on highly detailed and laboriously composed maps.


Michel Nedjar is a French artist born 1947.

The artist is best known for his early series of poupées (c. 1976-1998)–doll-like sculptures made from scrap and manipulated cloth, evoking surreal hybrid beings one would expect in nightmares.

Nedjar was born in the Holocaust's aftermath to a Jewish family that immigrated to France from Algeria and Eastern Europe.

During the second world war, Nazis deported and murdered many of his close family members.

A history he only fully understood when he was thirteen. It was then he saw Alain Resnais’s film Night and Fog.

There he saw for the first time on the big screen the horrors of the extermination camps, making what happened to his family disturbingly real.

“Everything Collapsed Within Me.... I Now Knew That The Others Could Kill Me. I Identified With The Corpses. I Felt The Violence.”

It was in the late 1970s, during a two-year period of extreme depression, that he began creating his dark and foreboding poupées.

Then 20 years later, as the artist matured and found more emotional stability, Nedjar’s dolls lost much of their eeriness, finding inspiration in his passion for global travel he began in 1998 to create a series of “travel dolls”.


Mary Tillman Smith (1904–1995) was an American self-taught painter who lived and worked in Mississippi most of her life.

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Mary Tillman Smith

Smith often used house paint on materials such as wood or tin creating bold, colorful, and expressive paintings of solemn figures in strong colors, adding dots and dashes, alongside cryptical and abstract texts.

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Mary Tillman Smith


Louis Adolphe Soutter (1871 – 1942) was a Swiss art brut painter and graphic artist who made most of his work when living in a hospice.

He studied art in Switzerland and later on spent time living in Paris and the United States before he returned to Switzerland.

At the age of 52 he was placed in a non confined Hospice for elderly men where he remained until his death.

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Louis Adolphe Soutter

When he first moved to the Hospice he made sketches with pen and pencil in small notebooks.

His cousin the famous architect Le Corbusier on his visits was impressed with what he saw and helped him acquire better materials for his art.

Le Corbusier began collecting all of Soutters works and arranged exhibitions  internationally for him.

As time passed though Soutters hands became crippled with osteoarthritis and so as he could no longer hold a pen, he began to use his fingers; dipping them directly into the ink or paint.

louis adolphe soutter , cousin architect le courbousier
On the back wall Mary Tillman Smith and left on podium Louis Soutter

But Soutter's new-found approach, painting with his fingers, was too messy for the master of architectural order and Corbusier stopped supporting his cousin from then on.

Soutter died in 1942, gradually starving to death, at the age of seventy-one, and was buried by the hospice.

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August Walla


August Walla (1936 -2001) was a multi talented Austrian artist, who created a self-made cosmos based on his personal mythology.

Walla was an only child who grew up living with his mother and grandmother.

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August Walla

During Nazi times his mother disguised him as a girl so he wouldn’t have to serve in the army and later when the Russians came he returned to being a boy.

This is often depicted in his work with girls marked with swastikas and boys with a hammer and sickle.

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August Walla

When Walla’s Grandmother passed, he became obsessed with death, fearing especially the death of his mother.

The concept of eternity into which his grandmother had entered became important for him.

For Walla there was a time before eternity (before his grandmothers death) and an eternity end for the time after the end of eternity.

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August Walla

A common thread visible through his entire oeuvre, based on this he built his private mythology, filled with figures and symbols.

August Walla lived in the House of Artists in Maria Gugging from 1983 and was one of the most versatile artists of "Art Brut".

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Franz Kernbeis


Johann Garber was born in 1947, in Austria.

Johann Garber was raised by his grandmother but also spent some time in youth centers growing up.

He began receiving psychiatric treatment for the first time at age 19.

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Johann Garber | Garbersalon

Since 1968, he has spent most of his time in Gugging, and has been living and working in the House of Artists since 1981.

Garber produces ink drawings of a high graphical quality that are filled in completely with an array of details.

His primary subjects are cityscapes, fictional architecture, and animals, inspired by his imagination, by visions and patterns.

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Johann Garber | Garbersalon

He usually works alone and without interruptions. His room is like an artistic installation.

A reproduction of this is on view at the museum's premises.

In 2017, he was the first Gugging artist who curated an exhibition for the galerie gugging.

His work can be seen in many museums, such as the American Folk Art Museum in New York, and is part of important private collections.

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Philip Schöpke | Museum Gugging


Horacek Rudolf (1915 - 1986) was an Austrian artist who in 1949, was admitted as a patient in what was then the Gugging Sanatorium.

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Rudolf Horacek 

He was a quiet and introverted patient.

In 1979 upon request he began drawing, his focus lay on drawing heads and faces.

In 1981 he was among the group of patients who moved to the Center for Art Psychotherapy, now called the House of Artists where he lived and worked until his death.

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Rudolf Horacek 


Simone Pellegrini is an Italian artist born in 1972.

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Simone Pellegrini

The artist creates unique charcoal monoprints on a parchment-like paper, that he prepares  in such a way that gives it an ancient look.

simone pellegrini, charcoal monoprints on parched like paper
Simone Pellegrini

The work on view at Gugging was made especially for the exhibition.

The artist lives and works in Bologna, Italy.

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Simone Pellegrini


Leoš Wertheimer was born in 1956 in Přerov, Czech Republic.

His unique passion has always been the history and construction of locomotives, which he began drawing in 1997.

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His pencil and crayon drawings on strips of brown paper depict different types of locomotives and are labeled with their names.

His works can be found in public and private collections.


Hans Langner is a self-taught German artist and has dedicated his life to art.

After a performance in Hong Kong in 1996, during which he transformed into a bird, a journalist titled Langner as the Birdman of Hong Kong.

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Hans Langner | Gallery Gugging

A year later he was asked if his name is Birdman why he does not paint birds.

This question fundamentally changed his artistic work.

From that day on birds have been his leitmotif.

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Hans Langner | Gallery Gugging

Langner considers himself a hunter and gatherer finding material for his work at flea markets, online, in bulky waste, in antique shops, in rivers and in various basements.

For the artist any object is potential material.

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Hans Langner | Detail of the Installation at Gallery Gugging

In 2015 the gallery Gugging and Hans Langner signed an exclusive contract, and that same year he moved to Vienna and has been working and living there since.

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Hans Langner | Part of the Gallery Gugging

For the past few years he has mainly dedicated his work to installations and painting on tapestries and gobelins.


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Hans Langner | A house of artists traveling

A house of artists traveling is a permanent installation at the Gugging museum.

During a 23 year period Langner transformed an old 1920’s Austrian farmhouse into a work of art.

A work subject to change through weathering.

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Hans Langner | A house of artists traveling

Change is a constant in Hans Langner's art world. He loves it when nature completes his work and gives the finishing touches.

"What nature does with my works amazes and inspires me again and again."

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Hans Langner | A house of artists traveling

From August 2000 to August 2013 he lived and worked in his artists' house.

In 2014, birdman sent parts of his "birdhouse" on trips, and ended up at the villa gugging, where they have been one of the main attractions ever since.

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