"American Innocence, Welcome To The Realms of the Unreal" at the Laforet Museum brings together 64 paintings and some personal objects of the "outsider artist" Henry Darger, who was born in Chicago in 1892.

Just before his 4th birthday, his mother died giving birth to his sister, who was put up for adoption before he could see her — a double loss that is said to have haunted him for the rest of his life. After his father became ill and passed away, Henry grew up in a Catholic Boys School before being put in an institution for children with mental disabilities, for reasons that remain unclear. After escaping at around age 17, he spent most of his life doing menial work and attending Mass regularly.

He was known for being a harmless and scruffily dressed loner, but what no one realized until his death in 1973 was that he had a secret, and prolific, creative life. When clearing out his room, Darger's landlord discovered not only endless piles of junk — balls of string, magazines, etc — but also a number of creative works, including an epic story of more than 15,000 pages and around 300 pictures, most of them illustrating the tale. Luckily, the landlord, a professional photographer, realized the work's originality and perplexity so kept it.