Ghyslaine et Sylvain Staëlens


Cavin-Morris Gallery / Exposition THE GO-BETWEENS / New York

Publié par Ghyslaine et Sylvain Staëlens sur 11 Janvier 2023, 10:28am

Catégories : #Expositions



(February 2 - April 1, 2023)


Right now, in the field of non-mainstream artists we have come to a time when the terms Outsider, Art Brut, and Art Singulier are no longer adequate to describe the work of some artists who are self-taught, visionary, spiritually and otherwise, and who, though they may sell their art to survive, do not make work to respond to the current art canons. To give a different twist to a phrase by Mayan glyph decoder Linda Schele, they are “edgewalkers” navigating the permeable borders between Art Brut and mainstream art.

Sylvain and Ghyslaine Staëlens’ and Christine Sefolosha’s work are perfect examples of this phenomena. They are the bastard children of Contemporary Art and Art SingulierArt Singulier itself is a continuation of Neuve Invention, a category proposed as a stopgap for those artists Jean Dubuffet considered too culture-savvy to be ‘pure’ Art Brut. In the United States this has been absorbed into what is branded ‘Outsider’ art. 

We are less concerned about discussing artists according to convenient categories than highlighting the information coming from their work, and from the artists themselves. This approach completely subverts current theories of authenticity. For us, the attractions of authenticity come from knowing the artists’ intentions, personal, social, or cultural, and whether the work is telling the artists’ inner truth rather than an engagement with horror vacui. This is extremely important because these three artists have, at numerous times in their careers, been rejected on many levels in the art world for not being ‘pure’ Art Brut, instead of being granted the dignity of their work being appreciated for its own high quality, depth of integrity, and formal skill. The world is messy; very little falls into a clean stereotype. Even Aloïse Corbaz, the great Master of Art Brut, was aware and formed by the cultural world she lived in.

In 2015 Randall Morris wrote in Christine Sefolosha: Timeless Wanderer: 

Christine Sefolosha is an artist, a visionary artist, and to recognize her as such is to praise her for her extraordinary skills, and to reward her for her travels through her personal path of image-making. In the case of her marvelous cave-like images don’t mistake the preferences for the actualities. Her intelligence and poetic sensibilities seethe and burn. She is not a Paleolithic cave woman. Those ‘cave’ images possess electricity and movement that bring them powerfully into the timeless present.

Her genius is her ability to share what haunts her, what obsesses her. She tracks the edges of our own dreams and obsessions and renders them visible. Ultimately this is not shamanism. It is based in animism, yes, but it is art. It is what makes Christine Sefolosha a consummate artist.

She recently wrote, I think wildlife, being vegetal, animal or human, are bound together and belong to a greater realm that we need to experience, brought together by inseparable ties.


Since Cavin-Morris first showed the Staëlens in 2013, they have swum more deeply into the primordial sea of their mythical cosmogony. They have increased the range of their subjects’ characters, hidden more secrets inside them, and deepened the power of their questions.

When asked in a recent interview last July about artistic influences they responded: 

We found roots in the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris, it’s our artistic family. We have also been influenced by Western paintings and sculptures; Picasso, Kandinsky, Calder, Bosch etc. Comic books are also a source of influence.

It is especially Mexico which was a great shock for us and our desire to create. The pyramids, the bas reliefs, the masks, the crafts. We went there several times. Sylvain’s father lived there, it triggered a lot of things, including our desire to leave Paris and create.

We are obviously influenced by the churches, crucifixes, engraved columns, all this Christian culture, very visual in which we all bathe in France and Mexico. Everything we see is absorbed unconsciously and can resurface years later on a sculpture. Our daily lives, the people around us, the observation of the tensions on the faces and the positions of the bodies also interest us enormously.

Add to this the ghosts of medieval and later occultism, the local past histories buried in the ground beneath the volcanoes where they live, the new global vulnerabilities that call for spectral warriors, and the feminist history of the persecution of witches, herbalists, healers and midwives, and you realize the Staëlens are, as Kurt Vonnegut said; “Unstuck in time.” We are lucky to receive the benefits of both the Staëlens’ and Christine Sefolosha’s temporal fluidity.

The show will open on February 2nd, and we will have a formal reception on March 3rd coinciding with the Outsider Art Fair. (2 au 5 mars)


Vernissage de l'exposition le vendredi 3 Mars 2023.


Cavin-Morris Gallery

529 W 20 th Street  /  3rd Floor

New York

NY 10011  Etats Unis

For additional information please contact

or call us at (212) 226-3768




Chasseur Bleu, Mixed media, 140x35x45 cm, 2022 /  Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

Chasseur Bleu, Mixed media, 140x35x45 cm, 2022 / Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

Personnage, Mixed media, 2022 / Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

Personnage, Mixed media, 2022 / Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

Christine Sefolosha / Lou blanc, 2020 /  Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

Christine Sefolosha / Lou blanc, 2020 / Photo Jurate Veceraite Photography © Cavin-Morris Gallery

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