this picture and the next three courtesy of Benoît Jaïn
(by Germany during the second world war)
Jaïn would never marry. In the early 1950’s he arranged his own accommodation on the farm’s grounds to which he linked a three-to-seven meters large shed he could use as a studio.
In the late 1950’s, around 1956, Jaïn got retired from his job and then he actually began creating artworks. He was in his early fifties.
In his studio Jaïn dedicated himself to making sculptures, some of these from animal bones obtained from the local butcher, others from locally available pieces of granite and a rather large number from tree stumps or other pieces of wood. Rising early in the morning he worked steadily, making some 400 creations during the next eight years.
In his artworks Jain expressed his interest in Breton folklore, legends and belief systems,
On shelves along the walls of the studio dozens of sculptures were arranged, often stand alone characters such as devils, saints, historical persons, ethnological types or Breton celebrities, but also more composite creations, such as a scene of a Breton village or a woman and a dragon, as depicted above and below.
The sculptures from granite or cement, a selection of which is pictured in this article, in general were displayed in the garden and the orchard.
Living near the bay of Douarnenez, directly connected to the Atlantic Ocean, Jaín feared the power of the waters of the ocean and familiar with the legend of Ker-Ys, comparable with the biblical story of the flood, he had surrounded the site with a system of protective devices, such as a series of wooden sentinels with a repulsive look to ward of evil intentions, a Groupe Tricéphale (a three headed granite sculpture) at the entrance, a Gargouille (Gargoyle, a legendary dragon) and a three meter high wooden totem with a thin face under a zinc cap.
this picture and the next one courtesy of Jean-Michel Jaïn
And then there was a self-made musical instrument, the Jaïnophone, a percussion set of mainly metal tubes constructed by Jaïn from all kinds of obsolete materials such as copper pipes, bed springs, plowshares and other sound producing items. Jaïn actually played this instrument, producing music hors normes
A sign at the entrance with the text Musée-Exposition welcomed visitors and people from the U.K. and the Netherlands on holiday in Brittany indeed came by.
In june 1966 Jaïn got very serious psychiatric problems. He was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in Quimper, where he stayed for more than a year. Returned home in August 1967 he passed away on November 21, 1967.
Pierre Maunoury, a psychiatrist and artist from the region, who already in 1964 had visited Jaïn, wrote about the artworks in the Fascicules d’Art Brut no 10, published by the Collection d’Art Brut in Lausanne. He also donated a set of decorated bones to the museum.
In 1991 Bruno Montpied rediscovered Jaïn’s artwork and wrote about it both in specialized magazines and in his weblog (see documentation).
The artworks could be seen in various regional and local expositions: in 1965 in Douarnenez (organized by Pierre Jaïn himself); in 2001 in Dol de Bretagne (l’Art Brut à l’ABRI); in 2002 in Kerlaz (organized by Jaïn’s family) and in 2013 in Brest (l’Art Brut à l’Ouest).
At the time of the publication of this post in this weblog there was an exposition in Kerlaz (july 12-23, 2017), also at the occasion of the new book by Benoît Jaïn.
Actual state of the artworks
With a number of exceptions the some 400 self-contained wooden sculptures, divided among the various members of the Jaïn family, are still existing.
However, the wooden sculptures which were displayed outside in the Musée-exposition perished by the effects of the weather, in so far they haven’t been removed in time. Most other decorative items, the Jaïnophone included, have been removed
In fact the garden currently only contains some granite sculptures, partly weathered by growing moss.
The farmhouse has become a gîte, where holidaymakers can rent a room. The presence of the sculptures promotes the attractiveness of the site as a holiday residence
* Website about Pierre Jaïn edited by Benoît Jaïn: www.pierrejainartbrut.com
* Benoît Jaïn, Pierre Jaïn. Un hérétique chez les “bruts”. Kerlaz (YIL Editions), 2017. -115 p
* Article on the weblog of Jean-Yves Cordier about sculptures by Jaïn at the exposition l’Art Brut á l’Ouest (2013)
* Various articles and referrals on the weblog of Bruno Montpied
* Article on Wikiwand
Kerioret Izella, Kerlaz, Brittany, France
site non-extant, except a number of granite sculptures