Filed under: Art
Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting
Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm
Seminar room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Denmark Hill.
Please join us for a speaker meeting about American abstract artist Agnes Martin, recently the subject of a Tate Modern retrospective. We’re very pleased that Dr Lena Fritsch, Tate Modern Assistant curator will be our speaker guest.
“Agnes Martin: her Art and Life”
Agnes Martin (1912–2004) was an American abstract painter. She was born in Canada but lived most of her life in the United States. She is best known for her meticulously rendered grid paintings and evocative stripes paintings marked out in subtle pencil lines and pale colour washes. Her art and way of living had a significant influence on her own, and subsequent generations of artists. After becoming a key figure in the male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction in New York, Martin abandoned the city in 1967 and went in search of solitude, settling in New Mexico. Martin suffered from schizophrenia throughout her adult life. Working within tightly prescribed limits that she imposed on her own practice Martin was able to continue to make extraordinary paintings until her death in 2004.
Dr. Lena Fritsch is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, working on exhibitions (most recently Agnes Martin), displays and acquisitions of international art with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Fritsch studied art history, Japanese studies and English studies at Bonn University, Germany as well as Keio University, Tokyo. She completed a PhD in 2010 with a thesis on Japanese photography (The Body as a Screen: Japanese Art Photography of the 1990s, Georg Olms, Hildesheim 2011). Before joining Tate Modern in 2013, she worked at the Directorate General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin. Most recent publications include: ‘The Floating Dresses of Hiroshima: War Memory in Ishiuchi Miyako’s Photography’, in Ayelet Zohar (ed.): Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Suppressed, Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv 2015; ‘Well, I sit here and wait to be inspired: Photographs of Agnes Martin’ in Frances Morris (ed.), Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London 2015; ‘Von dunkler Dekadenz und christlicher Mystik: Verbindungen zwischen Geoffrey Hills Gedicht “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” und präraffaelitischen Bildern [Dark Decadence and Christian Mysticism: Relationships Between Geoffrey Hill’s Poem “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” and Pre-Raphaelite Paintings]’, in Susanne Gramatzki and Renate Kroll (eds.), Wie Texte und Bilder zusammenfinden, Berlin 2015.
This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public). No need to book. It’s okay to turn up late. Entrance is free!
How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience:
Picture credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aechase/
Filed under: Art
Sarah Chaney came to talk to AoP on “Art, autobiography and the avant-garde asylum” Carol Kan interviews her after the talk.
Filed under: Art
Upcoming Art of Psychiatry meeting
Tuesday 7th April, 6pm Seminar room 1, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Denmark Hill London
“Blake as prophet” with Professor David Bindman
After a quiet patch we have a number of Art of Psychiatry meetings planned and details of these will follow shortly.
Please join us on April 7 for our first meeting of this year. (Apologies for only one week’s notice)
William Blake (1757-1827) is a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts. Blake claimed that he has seen an angel in a tree at Peckham Rye, leading to speculation that his imagination is more vivid than reality and some of his contemporaries doubted his sanity. Viewing his works can provide insight into mental states that may be otherwise elusive to psychiatrists.
In this talk entitled “Blake as prophet”, Prof David Bindman will explore the intentions behind Blake’s prophetic works, and his apocalyptic ambitions. It will focus particularly on Jerusalem and its illustrations, and talk about the short poem of the same name, that was not part of the larger work.
David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London. He was educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Courtauld Institute. Professor Bindman has taught and lectured extensively, and has held fellowships at international institutes, such as the Getty Institute and the Du Bois Institute at Harvard. He is a noted scholar on Blake, writing the introductory text to William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books. His recent interest has turned to the representation of non-Europeans in Western art, culminating in the book Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the Eighteenth Century.
All are welcome (general public, medical and non-medical). Wine and snacks provided.
Filed under: Art
The Nunnery Gallery at Bow is currently showing paintings and drawings by Mary Barnes. Barnes took an unusual route to becoming an artist: most of the works on show were created whilst Barnes was a resident at Kingsley Hall, an experimental therapeutic community founded by counter-cultural psychiatrist R.D. Laing. On her death, Barnes bequeathed much of her collection to her therapist and friend, Dr Joseph Berke, and her nickname for him: “Boo-Bah” is the title of the show. This is the first major show of her works since the 2010 retrospective at SPACE Studios.
Born in 1923, Barnes joined the British Army during World War II and subsequently worked as a nurse in Frankfurt and London. She suffered her first breakdown in 1952 and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She contacted Laing in 1963, after reading his seminal book “The Divided Self”. She felt that Laing could help her and her brother Peter who was also diagnosed with the same disorder. Initially, she saw Laing for regular session. Then between 1965 and 1970, she became a patient of Berke and joined Kingsley Hall, a patient-centred, non-institutional and non-interventionist therapeutic community. In Kingsley Hall, she was encouraged to regress to an infantile like state; she squealed, refused to dress or wash, was fed from a bottle and slept naked in a wooden chest.
Around the same time, Mary started to paint the walls with her own faeces. “My first paintings were black breasts over the walls of the Hall”, recalled Mary in 1969. Then one day, “Joe gave me a tin of grease crayons. ‘Here, just scribble’. I did, on and on. Suddenly, a picture emerged, a woman kneeling with a baby to her breast”. From the crayon scribbles, she developed finger-painting and vivid oil paintings. It is these paintings that are now on view at the Nunnery Gallery.
The works on display range from composed, figurative painting to large-scale psychedelic works, with nature and religious symbols as a constant motif. A rusty trunk stands in the middle of the gallery, with drawings sprawling out. This creates a sense of urgency, epitomising the importance of the creative process in Mary’s journey through madness. Because so much is known about Mary’s life, it can be difficult at times to consider her paintings without imaging her state of mind. The curator has chosen not to label or date her works, allowing us to form our own conclusions. We are free to respond emotionally to the raw energy of her works. Texts from Mary’s writings are often intersected with her paintings, creating a sense of an on going dialogue between the viewers and Mary. Laing once wrote, “Rilke [early 20th century poet] wrote of “ the other side of nature”. Mary gives us the “other side of the flesh”.”
”Boo-Bah” also contains contextual items, such as photos of Barnes visiting doctors and patients in Sweden. You can listen to an audio extract of a BBC radio play Barnes co-wrote by David Edgar. Berke quotes David Edgar in his epilogue on Mary’s website, “When Mary died, several people asked, as if in an afterthought, if she was cured. Certainly, Mary was able to undertake those practical life tasks that were beyond her in madness. But she was never and could never, be cured in the sense of returned to normal. Still passionate, intense, demanding, and self-obsessed, she was also generous, funny and kind. It was a privilege to tell her story.”
This exhibition is a wonderful exhibition of Mary Barnes’ creative outputs at Kingsley Hall.
Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Speaker meeting meeting:
Professor Roger Cardinal – “Responding to Outsider Art”
Institute of Psychiatry Tuesday 23 September 6pm Seminar room 1
Outsider art is a term used to describe art created outside the mainstream art establishment, and is often applied to work created by psychiatric patients.
Roger Cardinal is widely known for his publications on self-taught art, in particular his pioneeing book Outsider Art of 1972. He has also written on French Surrealism and the early avant-garde, and is currently preparing a monograph on the mediumistic artist Madge Gill.
This talk will offer specimen works of Outsider Art originating in a variety of material contexts and involving a range of belief systems and mental perspectives. It will provide a general map of the field and will use illustrations from the work of some classic creators, as well as little-known recent artmakers. Professor Cardinal will seek to clarify what is at stake when we encounter such productions. What do we need to know about the author of a given work? Is a purely technical perspective adequate? Is there beauty to be savoured, or a whole new aesthetic to be established? Can we dwell within enigma? Outsider Art is rather special, and the viewer needs to adopt a sensitive stance toward the work and its maker.
Talk followed by questions and discussion.
This is an open meeting – all are welcome. Wine and snacks provided. Look forward to seeing you there!
Mug up beforehand:
(This meeting is rescheduled from 24 September)
Tuesday 12 November 2013 6pm Institute of Psychiatry Seminar room 6
Speaker meeting: Maria Walsh talks about her book Art and Psychoanalysis
In Art and Psychoanalysis Maria Walsh investigates how psychoanalysis has been an invaluable resource for artists, art critics and historians throughout the twentieth century. Artists as varied as Max Ernst, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman and Marina Abramovic can be examined with the benefit of psychoanalytic thinking, and contemporary critics use psychoanalytic concepts as tools to understand how meaning operates. Walsh’s argument is that psychoanalysis, like art, is a cultural discourse about the mind in which the authority of discourse itself can be undermined, provoking ambiguity and uncertainty and destabilising identity.
This is a public meeting, all are welcome.
Filed under: Art
Unfortunately our 24 September meeting with Maria Walsh is cancelled. We are rescheduling for later in the year.
Our apologies for any inconvenience.
Filed under: Art
Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the sculptures you can encounter by Nelson ward at Lambeth Hospital?
They are part of over 5000 works of art collected by the British artist Edward Adamson (1911-1996) during his years at Netherne Hospital, where he pioneered the use of art as therapy. The Adamson Collection was on display and in storage at Lambeth Hospital from 1997 until 2012, when most of the 4500 drawings and paintings were relocated to the Wellcome Library. The art work was initially produced in a research studio as a form of diagnosis and treatment at Netherne in the early 40s, with its content scrutinised by treating psychiatrists: particularly Eric Cunningham Dax and Francis Guttman. Adamson then developed his thinking further and regarded that the artistic self-expression itself was healing. His studio became a safe and creative space for those with restricted freedom of movement.
The Art of Psychiatry Society is pleased to announce that Dr David O’Flynn, consultant psychiatrist at SLaM and chair of Adamson Collection Trust, will be joining us on 22nd October presenting a talk titled “The Adamson Collection: the Art of Healing”. The meeting will take place in the Adamson Room at the Maudsley Learning Centre.
All are welcome.
For more information, please visit
Filed under: Art
Unfortunately this event is cancelled but will be rescheduled for later in the year.
Our next event is David O’Flynn speaking about the Adamson Collection 22 October
Tuesday 24 September 2013 6pm Institute of Psychiatry Speaker meeting: Maria Walsh talks about her book Art and Psychoanalysis In Art and Psychoanalysis Maria Walsh investigates how psychoanalysis has been an invaluable resource for artists, art critics and historians throughout the twentieth century. Artists as varied as Max Ernst, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman and Marina Abramovic can be examined with the benefit of psychoanalytic thinking, and contemporary critics use psychoanalytic concepts as tools to understand how meaning operates. Walsh’s argument is that psychoanalysis, like art, is a cultural discourse about the mind in which the authority of discourse itself can be undermined, provoking ambiguity and uncertainty and destabilising identity. This is a public meeting, all are welcome.
(click on image for full size)
Art in the Asylum: creativity and the evolution of psychiatry is an upcoming exhibition at the Djanogly Art Gallery Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham. It runs Saturday 7 September – Sunday 3 November. Also running alongside is the video installation MARAT SADE BOHNICE: Althea Thauberger.
From the exhibition’s organisers:
Art in the Asylum presents the first examination of the evolution of artistic activity in British psychiatric institutions from the early 1800s to the 1970s. With over 100 loans from national and international archives, the exhibition traces the historical shift from invasive treatments of mental disorders to a more humane regime in which creativity played a significant role.
Highlighting key institutions and influential figures in the history of British mental healthcare, the exhibition includes the earliest use of creativity in the Crichton Royal Institution in Dumfries under the direction of Dr. W. A. F. Browne; the pioneering work of Edward Adamson at the Netherne Hospital in Surrey; and the free expression of residents at Kingsley Hall in London, a therapeutic community run by Dr. R. D. Laing. Works by Richard Dadd and Louis Wain represent some of the most well-known patient art associated with the Bethlem Royal Hospital, or ‘Bedlam’.
The exhibition also acknowledges the strong influence of continental psychiatry on British practice with the inclusion of artworks by patients under the care of notable psychiatrists such as Walter Morgenthaler, Hans Prinzhorn and Leo Navratil; they include Adolf Wölfli, Johann Hauser and August Walla represented in the exhibition by important loans from the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne established by Jean Dubuffet.
Uncovering fascinating stories, this historical overview provides insight to the diagnostic and therapeutic use of patient artwork, its influence on the development of humane psychiatric practice, and its wider recognition by artists associated with Art Brut and so-called Outsider Art.
Running concurrently with Art in the Asylum is a new video installation by Canadian artist Althea Thauberger, featuring a filmed performance of Peter Weiss’ 1963 play Marat/Sade at the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, Prague, in 2012.
Marat/Sade imagines the infamous Marquis de Sade as author and director of a play about the bloody assassination of Jean-Paul Marat while the former was interned in the Charenton asylum in 1808. A time of great institutional reform, this period saw the beginnings of the reformation of the treatment of mental illness from punishment to therapy. In the 1963 play, the inmates of the asylum enact the drama, and are always partly themselves, as patients, and partly in historical character.
While the original play is set in the bathhouse of Charenton, Thauberger’s filmed production is performed to an audience of staff and patients in another post-revolutionary institution: Bohnice, the largest psychiatric clinic in the Czech Republic.
Characteristic of her collaborative projects with specific social groups or communities, Thauberger’s film includes interviews with psychiatric staff and patients at Bohnice giving the participants a voice and raising questions about institutionalization, power and self-determination.
Accompany the exhibition and are free!
Friday 6 September 6.30-7.30pm
Dr. Esra Plumer and Dr. Victoria Tischler on the historic use of art in mental health institutions and the interplay between creativity and madness, introducing some of the spaces, places and key figures in the fascinating history of crossover between visual art and mental health care.
Saturday 7 September
Wednesday 11 September 6-8pm
Edward Adamson’s life and work: creativity and the evolution of art as therapy
Dr. Susan Hogan (University of Derby, author of Healing Arts: The History of Art Therapy 2001) with contributions from John Timlin (Adamson Collection) and Dr. David O’Flynn (Consultant Psychiatrist & Chair of the Adamson Collection). The groundbreaking work of the ‘grandfather of art therapy’ Edward Adamson is considered alongside associations between therapy and Surrealism.
Wednesday 18 September 6.30-7.30pm
A hidden gem: Dr. W. A. F. Browne’s collection of patient art at Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries
Dr. Maureen Park (University of Glasgow, author of Art in Madness 2011) discusses the pioneering work of Dr. Browne and his collection of patient art, the oldest surviving collection of asylum art in the world.
Wednesday 2 October 6-8pm
Ancient and modern mental healthcare
Jules Evans (author of the bestselling Philosophy for Life: and other Dangerous Situations 2012) with Dr. Ben Di Mambro (Consultant Psychiatrist) and Dr. Arun Chopra (Consultant Psychiatrist) From ancient philosophy to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), recent controversies in psychiatric diagnostics and the launch of the DSM-V, the speakers discuss how old and new approaches might interact in the provision of mental health care today.
Wednesday 16 October 6.30-8.30pm
Looking into art from the asylum: Prof. Roger Cardinal (author of the seminal text Outsider Art 1972); and Richard Dadd and Asylum Art of the 19th century: Dr. Nick Tromans, Curator, Watts Gallery, Surrey.
Artists whose approaches diverge radically from average expectation and from officially sanctioned approaches and styles are discussed alongside Richard Dadd, one of the best- known British asylum artists
Wednesday 30 October 6.30pm-7.30pm
Marat/Sade and the ‘theatre of cruelty’
Dr. Gordon Ramsay and Dr. James Moran (English Dept. University of Nottingham) consider Peter Brook’s 1964 production of Peter Weiss’s play Marat/Sade in the context of Antonin Artaud’s ‘theatre of cruelty’