Prinzhorn's groundbreaking study, the first of its kind, gained much attention in avant-garde circles of the time, interesting artists such as Paul Klee, Max Ernst, and Jean Dubuffet. In the s, the latter went on to coin the term Art Brut Raw Art , which along with the related concept of Outsider Art, has continued to capture the public interest, to the point where it has today some might say ironically become a successful art marketing category in its own right. Prinzhorn had a varied life. Born in Westphalia in , he became a student of philosophy and art history, before studying music in London. After this he turned to medicine, training as a psychiatrist in It was at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic that he began his pioneering work, not only through observation of patients but through analysis of their art production.
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It's an enduring irony of art history: artists whose work has come to define high culture are often characterized by various mental health issues. But the artwork of ordinary, anonymous people who struggle with those same issues is regarded as therapy, maybe, or a diversion, or a meaningless form of busy work. As Michel Foucault demonstrated in Madness and Civilization , institutions sprung over the course of modern European history to quarantine certain classes of people from the rest of society, even if it is troublingly clear to many of us that the distinctions cannot hold—hence, perhaps, the morbid fascination with the madness of famous professional artists.
Against the grain, the book granted voice to the previously marginalised: those incarcerated, those deemed insane, those suffering under poverty, those untrained, those in the wrong type of institution.
It granted those artists an audience, more to the point, of appreciative fellow artists like Paul Klee, Max Ernst, and Jean Debuffet who would coin the term Art Brut in response. It deserves to be far better known, both for its own sake and for its significant influence on the early 20th century avant-garde, and hence all subsequent avant-garde art. For Prinzhorn, image making is driven by our intense desire to leave traces.
The theories of artists like Kandinsky and Debuffet expressed some similar ideas. The former ascended to the realm of spirit and symbol, and the latter acerbically castigated the empty, out-of-touch veneration of high culture. Who knows what the artists here had in mind when creating their work? The creation of art, by anyone, is a universal human drive that requires no special training, no social sanction, no web of brokers, curators, and collectors. Maybe this is a threatening message to people who police the boundaries of culture.
The middle classes of his day, wrote Debuffet, were "convinced that [their] fashionable knowledge legitimizes the preservation of their caste. They work at persuading the lower classes of this, at convincing some of them of the necessity to safeguard art, that is to say armchairs, that is to say the bourgeois who know with which silk it is proper to upholster these armchairs. See much more of this incredible artwork at the Public Domain Review and read brief profiles from the ten schizophrenic artists Prinzhorn identified in a later section of the book.
We're hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you! I find this kind of art fascinating because of the unexplored regions of the human mind that it represents. Fragmentation is a big ingredient in many of these pictures , just as it was with music in the age of German expressionism.
Our eyes are better trains in our ears,. This is pretty eye opening, as someone who has recently begun painting and drawing. I have always been reluctant to pursue art because of the ideas that people are either born with a talent for it, need to go to school for it or are driven to it by some mysterious mystical drive. And I have been hesitant because of the elitist aspect of art, and the ivory towers from which people look down on untrained and unschooled artists.
No more. Its all bullshit and always was. I wonder what sort of hells those people with mental illness went through and what they experienced, in life and in their minds, in order to get those images onto paper or canvas. Name required.
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Artistry of the Mentally Ill
Artistry of the Mentally Ill: a contribution to the psychology and psychopathology of configuration German : Bildnerei der Geisteskranken: ein Beitrag zur Psychologie und Psychopathologie der Gestaltung is a book by psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn , known as the work that launched the field of psychiatric art. It was the first attempt to analyze the drawings of the mentally ill not merely psychologically, but also aesthetically. In the book, Prinzhorn presents the works of ten " schizophrenic masters", now housed in Prinzhorn Collection at the University Hospital Heidelberg , with in-depth aesthetic analysis of each and also full-color reproductions of their work. These ten masters were birth names in parentheses : . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Categories : non-fiction books Books about visual art Works about outsider art Visual art book stubs.
Hans Prinzhorn: Curating the Art of Mental Illness
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Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration
Hans Prinzhorn was a psychiatrist and art historian who had worked with Emil Kraepelin at the University of Heidleberg on a collection of art by mentally disturbed patients. By , when Prinzhorn left Heidleberg, this collection had grown to include over works by about patients. Prinzhorn was interested in the borderline between psychiatry and art, mental illness and self-expression, and his work became very influential among artists, especially the Expressionists and Surrealists, with their interest in self expression and in visualising the working of the unconscious mind. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.