A journey into art, madness and the unconscious. An exploration of visionary artists and the creative impulse, from the Flemish Masters of the Renaissance to the avant-garde movement of Surrealism and the unsung geniuses of Art Brut and Outsider Art.
Art & Mind explores the relationship between art and madness. The theme of madness inspired some of the most incredible painters in history, but mad people often experienced an unstoppable urge to create art too. Art & Mind also investigates how visionary and avant-garde artists sought to explore their unconscious mind as an inspiration for their art.
The theme of madness inspired artists since the Middle-Ages to create truly magnificent paintings: the “Stone of Madness” by Hieronymus Bosch and the Flemish Masters, the apocalyptic visions of Pieter Bruegel, compelling depictions of asylums by Goya and countless portraits of madness including Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear.
Starring art historians, collectors and psychiatrists, Art & Mind traces the advances in the understanding of the human mind and its influences on art. The emergence of the unconscious inspired Romantic artists to explore the hidden realms of dreams and visions in their art. Emerging psychology theories of Sigmund Freud and his contemporaries later became a huge source of inspiration to the Surrealists.
The border between visionary creation and madness is sometimes tenuous, and many artists experienced bouts of madness. Van Gogh cut his own ear while confined in a psychiatric hospital, William Blake had conversations with dead poets, Goya was hearing voices and Munch was convinced of being condemned into madness since birth. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung went through a psychotic crisis resulting in the visionary images of The Red Book. The Surrealists Leonora Carrington, Unica Zürn and Antonin Artaud also spent time confined in asylums and captured their experiences of madness in their art.
Stories of outsider artists are just as inspiring, ranging from the 45-volumes magnum opus of Adolf Wölfli to the compelling portraits of schizophrenia by Bryan Charnley. Art & Mind unveils the history of Art Brut, from its foundations in the dark corners of Victorian asylums to being exhibited in the world’s finest galleries, museums and private collections.