It’s happening outside

Something very especial happends to faces when Outside happends to artists. “It’s happening now”.  September 1994, David and Brian are visiting Outside artists colony in the mental hospital of Maria Gugging. 1’Outside (first 3-hour version which was running under the name Leon and was rejected by the labels) and Adler’s Diaries are in progress.
All the faces on photo are incredible.. “Two day of that really set us up for putting us in a place we hadn’t been before”.


From the interview published in Raygun (Oct. 95):

Bowie: …One of the days that we worked — it was the 12th of March, 1994, I’ll never forget — we had a blindingly orgiastic session where it just didn’t stop. Almost the entire genesis for this album is contained in those three and a half hours, but it’s nearly all dialogue and narrative description and wandering off into characters. I play out a character for maybe five minutes at a time; I mean, I developped an entire interior life for him whilst I was on mike, with this very sad place of music.

We kind of had these artistic — at least conceptual — parameters in place before we went into the studio. We sort of knew we were on a mission. Out of the set-ups we gave ourselves, we went to a mental hospital just outside of Vienna and that particular hospital is famous for its artistic wing. Inmates who’ve shown really strong orientation to painting or sculpting or something like that are given their own wing. And they paint and they sculpt and do all these fantastic things and they’re allowed to sell their work. Because it’s an experiment that’s been going since the fifties, some of these guys are in their sixties and seventies, even eighties and they’ve become the mainstay of what’s now called “outsider art.” So we spent two days with them and sort of had their stories translated. Some of their stories are so bizarre and off the wall. I can’t even begin to tell you…

I sketched them a lot and Brian was tape recording them, and we were just looking at their work. And two day of that really set us up for putting us in a place we hadn’t been before. And we came back tingling with excitement about the peripheries of society and what it’s like out there…

From “The Returning To the Sound Of Those Golden Years” by By RICK MOODY (NY times, Sept. 95):
“Outside” began in early 1994 with a sort of a fact-finding mission by Mr. Bowie and Mr. Eno to the Gugging psychiatric hospital near Vienna, where they interviewed and photographed its celebrated artist-patients. The artwork of these men (“massively free and improvised,” Mr. Bowie said), sometimes referred to as Outsider Art, had a powerful influence on production strategies for the new record. The recording sessions for “Outside” began immediately afterward, and even included some of the artistic materials favored by the Gugging’s residents. “I made sure there were lots of paints and charcoals and drawing things around,” Mr. Bowie recalled, “so that people could just stay in a place they wouldn’t normally be in in a recording studio.”

And at last…

Nickolas Pegg, “The complete David Bowie”

Another kind of art was informing Bowie’s muse: in early 1994 he and Eno visited the Guggin psychiatric hospital near Vienna, where the painters’ wing was, he explained, “an Austrian experiment to see what happens when you allow people with mental disabilities to give free rein to their artistic impetuses … It’s quite obvious that these outsider artists don’t have the parameters that are placed on most artists … Their motivation for painting and sculpting comes from a different place than that of the average artist who’s sane on society’s terms.” As ‘Jump They Say’ had intimated a year earlier, and as the new album’s title would reiterate, Bowie was ready to position himself as an “outsider artist” once again.

“Bowie in Gugging” exibit  opens today in  Galerie Crone Vienne. Another thanks to Bowienet for the info.


On September 8, 1994, David Bowie spent a day in Gugging, a psychiatric institution where patients were first encouraged to participate in art therapy, and which later became one of the most important art colonies and centers for Art Brut. This visit to Gugging has given Bowie a decisive impuls for his album „Outside“, on which all songs deal with art and human existence beyond our norm. The photographer Christine de Grancy accompanied David Bowie on this visit and captured the quiet, private, intimate moments of his encounter with the Gugging artists on camera. In the exhibition „Bowie in Gugging“ de Grancy’s pictures will be shown and released for the very first time.

It’s unlikely i’ll get there until February, feel bad about it. I would give.. maybe not my right arm (sorry, :D).. but a couple of fingers at least for catalog ang any textual materials, because it’s about Outside history, and Outside history is my soft spot. Even after release fast reading we get “official” story about this visit being a trigger for album contradicted.  The “early 1994” apparently goes September; leaves and grass don’t say it’s Vienne suburb in February or early March. It means a massive part of album record and segues is already done before the visit had had a place. So no way it’s either trigger or initial point, but its impact on both album and title is more than possible still. Brian Eno’s diary could be what, i think, can “set the record straight”, but unfortunately his “A year with a swollen appendices” starts from Jan the 1st 1995…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: