Mad Minds

Adèle Hugo fille,  Photographie d'Edmond Bacot, 1862, Maison de Victor Hugo, © Edmond Bacot / Maisons de Victor Hugo / Roger-Viollet - Eugène Hugo, Anonyme, 1839, Maison de Victor Hugo

Eugène Hugo, Anonyme, 1839, Maison de Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo’s Houses Paris / Guernesey

November 16th 2017 - March 18th 2018

Following the exhibition The Entrance of Mediums: Spiritualism and Art from Hugo to Breton, Mad Minds seeks to continue exploring these extensions of the artistic sphere with roots in the 19th century.

The entry point is that of madness, which though strangely absent from Victor Hugo’s work, is dramatically present in his family life: Eugène, his brother, and Adèle, his daughter, both died in asylums. As romanticism – and its “frenetic” creation – revived the notion of madness and its relationship to genius, perceptions of mental illness in the 19th century were changing, starting with the revolutionary, symbolic, and founding gesture of “Pinel liberating the insane”, in 1793. While Nodier wrote about literary madmen, the evolving field of psychiatry paid closer attention to the words of the mentally ill, and then their artistic “productions”. The artwork of mental health patients was clandestine, fragile, using asylum walls or whatever material they could find, but it gradually attracted the attention of psychiatrists who became the first collectors, the first “critics”, and who were the true inventors of the “art of madness”, in an archaeological sense. This exhibition focuses not on images of insanity, but rather on the artistic productions of the mentally ill going back as far as possible, in order to examine the driving force behind artistic creation... without safeguards. It focuses on the collections of Dr Brownie at Crichton Hospital (Dumfries Archives), Dr Marie (Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne), Dr Morgenthaler at Waldau (Psychiatie-Museum, Bern), and the Prinzhorn collection (University of Heidelberg).


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Adress :
Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée

6, place des Vosges
75004 Paris

Phone :
A Paris : + 33 (0)1 42 72 10 16

Opening hours :
Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays

Access :
Métro : Bastille (line 1, 5, 8), Bréguet-Sabin (line 5), Saint-Paul (line 1) or Chemin-vert (line 8)
Bus : 20, 29, 65, 69, 76, 86, 87, 96
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