Life and work
Jean-Michel Chesné (1959) lives in Paris. He studied agriculture, but preferred being artistically active in making music, painting and writing about art brut/outsider art. He has contributed articles to magazines like Raw Vision, Gazogène and Zon´art.
He became interested in outsider art after a visit he paid in 1992 to the famous environment le Palais Ideal.
In 1997 Chesné began constructing a grotto in the garden of his home in Malakoff, a Paris suburb. He used wood and glassfibre, and covered the walls with mosaic. It took him two years to finish the 4.5 m high construction.
In later years he has developed the site by decorating the walls of the garden with mosaics. This work is still in progress.
The Garden Grotto is not open for the public, but occasionally there will be an Open Day.
* A video by Marc Rohner (Daily Motion, 23'43", uploaded april 2012)
* Jean-Michel Chesné in 2011 has written about his grotto in his weblog (in french)
* On Picasa webalbums he has published a series of pictures of the garden and the grotto (can be run as a diashow)
Jean-Michel Chesné's postcard collection
As a young man Chesné began collecting picture postcards of outsider environments. This collection nowadays is probably one of the most complete in France. In october 2008 an exposition of these postcards could be seen in the Halle Saint Pierre (Paris).
Expositions of his paintings
Apart from music and theater, Chesné currently is rather active as a painter. His work is regularly exposed in french galeries.
From july 2010 on, Chesné is authoring a weblog (in french). It has the story of the construction of the garden grotto and information about expositions, new publications and developments in the field of french outsider art. And, what I do like very much, Chesné occasionaly publishes postcards from his collection. Mérite un détour!
first published nov 2008, revised july 2010, july 2011, april 2012
open on special occasions, and by appointment