We do not know much about this man who wanted to avoid social life as much as possible. His education did not exceed the primary school level. Adult, he ran a small shop that the Germans confiscated in 1942. Convinced that the Nazis also wanted to arrest him, he found refuge with his brother in Wozuczyn, a small town in the province of Lublin. He hid in a part of the attic and avoided all contact with his surroundings. After the war he refused to believe that the danger was over and he could regain his freedom. Until his death in 1962 as a result of the flu he would remain in his brother’s attic.
Monsiel left behind about five hundred drawings. If his work seems inspired by the traditional popular and religious iconography, it presents itself primarily as an obsessive repetition of the same. Not an inch of the sheet that does not contain a face. These faces are thus both the theme and the overall composition, the outline and drawing, the content and form. Is it because for him everything boils down to this one face ? Because he disposes of one single image ? The eyes are turned to themselves and the entire drawing becomes Edmund Monsiel himself, completely tied up, frozen, taken over.
SEE ALSO :
Chlewinski, Zbigniev, ed. Edmund Monsiel : odslona druga. Plock : Plocka Galeria Sztuki, 1997.
Publications de la Collection de l’Art Brut, fascicule 11. Lausanne, 1982.
Thévoz, Michel. Art Brut, psychose et médiumnité. Paris : La Différence, 1990.