Contemporary Faux Naïf


“Children also have artistic ability, and there is wisdom in their having it! The more helpless they are, the more instructive are the examples they furnish us.” —Paul Klee

In the early 20th century, artists like Paul Klee attempted to reform art's staid conventions of beauty by returning to supposed primal or elementary beginnings. The art of children or those with mental disorders, which Klee championed and mimicked in his own work, seemed to offer access to authentic experience, unaffected by the trappings of civilization. Since then, many artists have attempted to present ostensibly unmediated expressions of creativity by eschewing traditional painting technique, a strategy that can be called “faux naïf”, derived from the French for “falsely naïve”. In contemporary practice, artists like Tal R and Jules de Balincourt seek to address the modernist search for authenticity by adopting a child-like style.

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