The formulation, discovered by Arno Stern, is a universal repertoire of signs, independent of the influence of environment, culture, age or education, but linked to the memory of the formation of the organism.

Arno Stern

Arno Stern is a French researcher and pedagogue, born in 1924. He invented creative education in 1946 and was its first practitioner. In the 1950s he opened a workshop in Paris, which he later called the Closlieu. There he witnessed the manifestations traced by the participants, which he called the formulation. He was able to study and compare thousands of documents either from his workshop or from the countries he visited where he had children paint in conditions similar to the Closlieu. In 1985, he founded the Institut de Recherches en Sémiologie de l'Expression (IRSE), an institute dedicated to research on formulation.

Etude de la formulation IRSE Paris
Research on formulation, IRSE, Paris

He described the Closlieu and the formulation as follows:

“Formulation is neither an offshoot nor a characteristic of any particular socio-cultural environment. It is not the result of an apprenticeship, but rather of a training that develops innate aptitudes and orients them towards this manifestation and not towards the creation of communicative works.”

“Everyone is capable, like a small child, of devoting him or herself to this play when it occurs in a space designed with that in mind. This space is the Closlieu (from the French "clos", meaning enclosed or enclosure, and "lieu", place).”

“This paper trace, born of a spontaneous impulse - saved or rediscovered - does not belong to art, but to Formulation.”