Cover photo: Adolf Wolfli
Directed by: Amélie Ravalec
Run Time: 70 minutes
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.
The film features many artists including Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco Goya, Vincent Van Gogh, William Blake, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dali, Otto Dix, Pieter Bruegel, Henry Fuseli, Unica Zürn, Adolf Wölfli, André Breton, Carl Jung, Richard Dadd, Max Ernst, Henry Darger, Eugène Delacroix, George Widener, William Hogarth, Albrecht Dürer, Augustin Lesage, Théodore Géricault, Odilon Redon, Matthias Grünewald, Lucas Cranach, Leonora Carrington, William Kurelek, Antonin Artaud, Paul Rumsey, and Laurie Lipton.
Art & Mind presents art historians, artists, museum curators, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists. The film also had access to art from prestigious museums and art collections including Tate Britain, Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Prinzhorn Collection, La Halle Saint Pierre, ABCD Collection, Outsider Art Fair, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Lombroso Museum, Freud Museum, MAHHSA, Lille Métropole Museum of Contemporary and Outsider Art, Maisons Victor Hugo, Adamson Collection, Museum Dr Guislain, and Museum Im Lagerhaus.
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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.
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 major source of inspiration for 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. The Surrealists Leonora Carrington, Unica Zürn and Antonin Artaud also spent time confined in asylums and captured their experiences of madness in their art.
The lives 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.
Director Amélie Ravalec previously directed Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay, which traced the origins of Industrial music, from the crumbling industrial cities of Europe to America’s thriving avant-garde scene. Industrial Soundtrack was released theatrically in 2015 in 30 countries and acquired by ARTE TV in 2017.
Ravalec’s debut film Paris/Berlin: 20 Years Of Underground Techno documented the underground movement of techno through the lens of two very different cities, from secret Parisian parties to Berlin’s Berghain club. Paris/Berlin was released in 2012 in 18 countries.