Outsider Art

A Different Point of View

Source: Atelier Goldstein
The work of Hans-Jörg Georgi, a disabled artist from Frankfurt, is currently being shown in a Paris museum.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • The work of disabled artists is getting increasing attention and exhibition space at galleries across Europe.
  • Facts


    • Hans-Jörg Georgi and other disabled artists in Frankfurt create their work at Atelier Goldstein.
    • New York’s Outsider Art Fair put on a show in Paris last year, and Cologne’s Zander Gallery, which specializes in outsider art, has opened a branch in Berlin.
    • A century ago, German psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn collected artwork by the mentally disabled, some of which is now on display at Scharf-Gerstenberg in Berlin.
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Hans-Jörg Georgi squats on a swivel chair and holds a thick piece of cardboard in front of his face to cut out a strip. “I like to glue cardboard,” he says, without looking up.

Mr. Georgi is a heavy-set man of about 65 with dyed black hair, wearing red leather pants. “I had them custom made after a project,” he says.

In front of him in his atelier in Frankfurt is a half-finished model of a fantastical airplane that resembles a shark with a precipitous six-story tail. “Ninety-meter wingspan,” he says. “You can’t compare it with an Airbus.”

All his working life, mentally and physically disabled Mr. Georgi folded things for catalogs or glued labels in the Schober workshop for the disabled. Now that he must take retirement – something he’s not happy about – he has turned his attention to building airplanes from pieces of leftover cardboard.

Sixty of his models are currently on display at La Maison Rouge, a museum in Paris, in a room devoted to his work. The newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro have printed photos of his air fleet.

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