EMILE RATIER

EMILE RATIER
1894-1984 | FRANCE

© Collection ABCD
© Collection ABCD

Emile Ratier was born into a farming family established in Soturac, in the region of western France. A farmer, the young man left the farm to go to the front in 1914. Returning from war to the family farm, he became a timber merchant, then a clog-seller. From 1960 onwards, Emile Ratier underwent a period of depression as his eyesight dimmed progressively until he became totally blind.

Emile Ratier è nato in una famiglia contadina di Soturac, nella Francia occidentale. Il giovane contadino lasciò la fattoria molto presto per andare a combattere sul fronte nel 1914. Al suo ritorno divenne un commerciante di legname. A partire dal 1960, Emile Ratier cadde in depressione e la sua vista si oscurò progressivamente fino a diventare cieco.

Arc de triomphe, 1966 © Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne
Arc de triomphe, 1966 © Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne

From the time his vision weakened he started to work with wood, more particularly elm, with which he made mobile sculptures animated by cranks and other resonant mechanisms. The noises, the grating and grinding, allowed him to verify the finish of the object as well as its mobility. His works essentially represent carts, merry-go-rounds and animals, but also the Eiffel Tower, as well as all sorts of strange vehicles.
Emile Ratier’s workshop was situated in a barn at the back of his farmhouse. He used to get there by means of an ingenious system of iron wires, suspended high up, along which he would slide his hand.

Dal momento in cui la sua vista si indeboliva, iniziò a lavorare il legno, soprattutto l’olmo, con il quale realizzò sculture mobili animate da manovelle e altri meccanismi sonori. I rumori di griglie e macine permisero di verificare la finitura dell’oggetto, così come la sua mobilità. Le sue opere rappresentano essenzialmente carri,  giostre e animali, ma anche la Tour Eiffel e strani veicoli d’ogni tipo.
L’atelier di Emile Ratier era situato in un capannone dietro alla fattoria. L’artista era solito arrivarci attraverso un ingegnoso sistema di corde di ferro sospese in aria, dalle quali si faceva scivolare con le mani.

Untitled, u.d. © Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne
Untitled, u.d. © Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne
Untitled, u.d. © Collection ABCD
Untitled, u.d. © Collection ABCD

Biography from the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne