Monday 6 December 2010

The Prinzhorn Collection - Second Skin

Every so often I stumble across something on the internet that spellbinds me. Here is one example. It is simply a grey, linen jacket. And it was standard issue in the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg at the end of the 19th century. Text is embroidered on the outside of the sleeves, and also inside the jacket next to the skin without any apparent starting point or sequence, except that the words I and My seem to mark the beginning of new phrases such as: My dress; My jacket?; I am not; I'm in Hubertusburg - ground floor. The Prinzhorn Collection comprising around 5,000 items was saved by Hans Prinzhorn (a German art historian and psychiatrist) between 1919 and 1921 when he was an assistant in the hospital. In 1922 Prinzhorn published Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (Art of the Mentally Ill), which drew on profuse examples from the collection. Though many were unsure what to make of it all, well-known members of the artistic community such as Jean Dubuffet were inspired. Outsider art was recognized and named for the first time.

1 comment:

  1. Did you know Artur Bispo do Rosário work? ("(...)the artist Artur Bispo do Rosário (1911–89), a paranoid schizophrenic who was interned in a Rio de Janeiro asylum for 50 years. Obsessed with the Last Judgement, he created complex tapestries from the detritus of the asylum, which he termed ‘registers of my passage on earth’. Bispo do Rosário believed that, come the Last Judgement, he would be chosen by God to reconstruct the world afresh, using his models and weavings as blueprints.")