L'Information Psychiatrique


Champs libres Volume 81, issue 4, Avril 2005

Historienne de l’art, collaboratrice scientifique à la Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, et chercheuse associée à la Société des arts indisciplinés, Montréal

Free fieldsWhat has been the status of artistic productions by the mentally ill from a historical point of view, from the late 19th century to the present day? Such productions, excluded from the official artistic field until the early 20th century, were gradually to be assimilated; firstly through the publications of psychiatrists, then through the actions of avant-garde artists, who found in these works infinite possibilities for exploration. We will tackle the question of the therapeutic context and the notion of art therapy, focusing on the misunderstandings it can generate. We will also recount the frequent assimilation of work issuing from art-therapy workshops as raw art. Lastly, we will look into a case study devoted to Carlo Zinelli, a former patient in the Verona psychiatric hospital in Italy, considered nowadays as a major artist from the late 20th century.