Institutional psychotherapy is an experimental psychiatric practice that began to be developed in the mid-20th century, and which centres on the conviction that if we are to care for the sick, we must first care for the hospital – that, in other words, we must never isolate mental disorders from their social and institutional contexts. Taking inspiration from these revolutionary psychiatric and human practices that draw upon the collective and upon artistic creation, this exhibition explores different ways of transforming places of isolation into places of protection that can offer refuges from the violence of society.
It presents the films of François Pain, who documented life at the Clinique de la Borde and recorded the words of important practitioners of institutional psychotherapy, namely François Tosquelles, Jean Oury, and Félix Guattari. It also gathers the work of artists, carers and therapists who have developed forms of collective artistic practice in various different structures linked to mental healthcare including psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, and special needs schools. These experiments, both past and present, in France and further afield, show how art can act as a catalyst for emancipation, for the expression of a vital poetry, and for an active and critical form of community-building.
After recent exhibitions in France on Fernand Deligny and François Tosquelles, what can be gained from a further reflection upon these practices in a contemporary art centre?
This exhibition seeks to expand our understanding of the reasons for making art and the ways of making it, as well as of its social, political, psychic and ethical import; to allow us share in and collectively animate the motivations and the desire for self-expression of people for whom the ‘simple’ and the ‘everyday’ are anything but self-evident; to suggest how institutional psychotherapy, though it initially emerged in a psychiatric context, could be a tool, or at least a means of thinking and acting, applicable elsewhere, one which can help us to name, analyze and combat forms of systemic violence that cut across different institutions and areas of social life.
Artists : Accroc, Carla Adra, Astéréotypie, Agathe Boulanger, Centre Familial de Jeunes, Michel François, Signe Frederiksen, Dora García, Generativ Process, Tania Gheerbrant, Jules Lagrange, Boris Lehman & Club Antonin Artaud, François Pain, Patrik Pion, Abdeslam Ziou Ziou & Sofiane Byari.
Curator : François Piron
Exhibition assistant : Romane Tassel