This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Jul 7, 2016

Frontal attack against our Grand Master!

Well, yes. But it dates of 1981... Jean-Louis Ferrier was a french art critic and journalist. He published many papers in L'Express then in Le Point and was one of the 'inventors' of the Nouvelle Figuration movement.

La Petite Forme (Denoël, 1985), is a book collecting some of his art papers. The article called 'Le Bouffon et l'Humaniste' ('The Buffoon and the Humanist'), dating of 1981, was a pure attack against Jean Dubuffet, our beloved Nose Flute Hall of Fame Honorary Degree member!

Ferrier dared to write things like « L'irritant avec le bonhomme, c'est qu'il se prend pour Dieu l'australopithèque » (« What's irritating, with the fellow, is that he pretends to be God the australopithecus » or worst: « A quatre-vingts ans, il n'a pas varié d'un iota. Toujours le gribouillage enfantin, la moucheture, la maculation, les fausses couleurs » (« At 80 y.o., he has not varied of a iota. Always childish scribbles, flecks, smudges, fake colors »)

But there is even worst: the attack against Dubuffet's musical choices, and particularly his love for the nose flute!!!

Literally: « Music? His preferences go, for sure, to the accordion, and above all to the nose whistle, that he sniffles with talent... It is crazy, this anticultural obsession of Dubuffet »

Well, besides the controversy, the mocking of Dubuffet and of the 'nose whistle', the writing is interesting... It says that Dubuffet's prefered instrument was the nose flute! And more, this was a known fact, published in french magazines 20 years after the recordings Dubuffet made with Asger Jorn in 1961 (check this post).


  1. We all know Jean Dubuffet, not so much the critic. In my book, Dubuffet is an important, valid and very good artist with some very unique work.

    I visited his Jardin d'Email again this week. It always moves me. It still is my very favourite sculpture. A platform was raised last year, to view the environment from. This proves a real winner, as the garden can not be accessed when it rains, which it did when I was there.

    1. Hi Maikel! You're totally right : Mr. Ferrier has fallen into oblivion, if ever he was famous once. But, as you noticed, it's not much the 'attack' that interested me, than the fact that Dubuffet was kind of 'famous' also for his nose flute playing and love, and still was in 1981, some 20 years after his musical experiments.

  2. Absolutely! Much more than just a fad, we now know that Jean Dubuffet actually favoured the nose flute above any other instrument. Smashing.