Inner Worlds: Dialogues on Art and Mental Health
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Inner Worlds: Dialogues on Art and Mental Health

Inner Worlds: Dialogues on Art and Mental Health

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American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square

New York, NY 10023

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Poster by Gilles Tevessin

Inspired by the profound creativity of artists Carlo Zinelli and Eugen Gabritschevsky, this evening program will explore the landscape of mental health by highlighting historical and contemporary examples of artists living with mental illness. It will offer a space to consider the creativity of the human mind and the role art can play in activating expression.

Two scholars working at the intersection of art and mental health, Dr. Thomas Röske (Prinzhorn Collection) and Dr. Janos Marton (the Living Museum), will present on their work, current research, and methodology. Tina Kukielski, Executive Director of Art21, will moderate the conversation.

This dialogue will be followed by a presentation of Doktoress Karola and the invisible mirror, a new work by Philippe Ungar on the relationship between Dr. Jacqueline Porret-Forel and visionary artist Aloïse Corbaz. The work consists of a short film, followed by an interview between Jacqueline Porret-Forel and Philippe Ungar performed onstage by two actors. The project continues the the conversation about the intertwining of art, life, and mental health.

6:30-7:30 PM: Conversation

8:00-9:00 PM: Screening + Performance


Dr. Thomas Röske, born 1962 in Reinbek (near Hamburg), studied art history, musicology, and psychology at Hamburg University from 1981 to 1986. In 1991 he finished his Ph.D. on the intellectual biography of the art historian and psychotherapist Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1933). From 1993 to 1999 he was assistant professor at the art historical department of Frankfurt University, where he functioned as deputy speaker of a graduate and postgraduate project about psychology of art (“Psychische Energien bildender Kunst”), funded by the German state. During this time, he also curated exhibitions for different art institutions in Germany and Great Britain. In September 2001 Röske became curator of the Prinzhorn Collection at the Psychiatric Clinic of Heidelberg University Hospital, a museum for the historic collection of artworks by those living with mental illness from all over Europe. Since November 2002, he has been the director of this institution which stages changing exhibitions about art and psychiatry and that tour throughout Germany and abroad. He teaches regularly at the Centre for European Art History of Heidelberg University and at the Institute for Art History of Frankfurt University. In 2012 he became President of the European Outsider Art Association (EOA). Röske has published extensively on art and psychiatry and on outsider art. Other fields of interest are art and art theory around 1800, modern art, especially expressionism, art and homosexuality, art and outsider experience.

Dr. Janos Marton is Director of The Living Museum. Born in Hungary in 1949, he received a Ph.D. in psychology in 1976 and a M.A. in fine arts at Columbia University in 1980. He then went to work as a psychologist at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, the largest of five state psychiatric institutions in Queens, New York. In 1983, Dr. Marton invited Bolek Greczynski, a Polish artist known for his political artwork and experimental theater, to join the hospital staff at Creedmoor. Together, the two guided the transformation of an abandoned building on the campus known as Building 75 into the Living Museum, a thriving art space for patients. For over 30 years, the Living Museum has provided a space for people living with mental illness to transform their lived experiences into artistic expression. In 2015, Dr. Marton was awarded the 4th Annual Dr. Guislain “Breaking the Chains of Stigma” Award, an Initiative of Janssen Research & Development, LLC and Museum Dr. Guislain.

Born in 1962, Philippe Ungar is a writer and an audio archivist. Since 2001 he has worked for several art foundations, private collections and galleries in Europe and in the United States, including the Yves Klein Archives (Paris), the Panza Collection Archives (Mendrisio, Switzerland), the Niki Charitable Art Foundation (Santee, California), among others. Prior to his current career, from 1985 to 2005, he taught philosophy in high school and in the university institute for professors training (IUFM) in Lille (France). Simultaneously, he was a journalist for Swiss French Radio. His most recent publication is Soulages in America (Dominique Lévy Gallery publisher, New York).

Tina Kukielski is Executive Director of Art21. She was a co-curator of the acclaimed 2013 Carnegie International, bringing together 35 established and emerging artists from 19 different countries. During her time at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 2002–2010, she worked to acquire and mount exhibitions by a wide range of celebrated contemporary artists. As lead curator on the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Kukielski launched a number of digital initiatives and films series. In 2014, Kukielski co-produced a documentary film about Andy Warhol in partnership with artist Cory Arcangel documenting a digital conservation project which brought renewed attention to nearly forgotten artworks that Warhol made on an Amiga personal computer in 1985. Kukielski is a contributor to Artforum, Mousse Contemporary Art Magazine, and the 2015 anthology on digital art, Mass Effect: Internet Art in the 21st Century. She has been a visiting critic at Columbia, Yale, Princeton, and Carnegie Mellon, and has taught courses in the MFA programs at Parsons School of Design and the University of Hartford. She received her B.A. in Art History from Boston University and pursued graduate coursework in modern and contemporary art at The Graduate Center, City University of New York.


Credits for Doktoress Karola and the invisible mirror: Directed by Philippe Ungar; Camera: Rasha Hasbini and Philippe Ungar; Editing: Jean-Marie Boulet & Cécile Ribet; Subtitles & Translation: Létitia Farris Toussaint; Music: Maximilien Mathevon; Graphics & Poster Design: Gilles Tevessin


Eugen Gabritschevsky: Theater of the Imperceptible is organized in collaboration with La maison rouge, Paris, and the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne.

These two exhibitions art supported in part by Joyce Berger Cowin, the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, the Ford Foundation, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image: Carlo Zinelli (1916-1974), Untitled, San Giacomo Hospital, Verona, Italy, 1960. Gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 27 1/2 in., Collection Audrey B. Heckler. Photo by Visko Hatfield.

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American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square

New York, NY 10023

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