By exploring the immateriality and intangibility of mental illness, the artist’s research leads to some topical questions: are we still able to initiate a process of de-stigmatisation and a reconsideration of mental illness? How to we de-construct the binary categorisation that distinguishes „deviance“ from “normality“? During research residences and collaborations in ten different countries, the artist came into contact with multiple European realities, in the realisation of a project made up of different immersive pieces, brought to fruition following the interaction with people in care, medical staff, doctors and researchers of various kinds.
In the specific case of Switzerland, the artist referred to „Ensa Mental Health First Aid“, a first aid programme for mental health, launched in 2019 by the Swiss Pro Mente Sana Foundation and with the support of the Beisheim Foundation.
The innovative idea is to train and empower people who are not in the sector, in order to help them recognise the appearance of mental problems in their surrounding environment. The aim is to provide them with initial support, to break taboos and open up a dialogue on the stigma that exists in our society towards mental illness. The artist’s third solo exhibition for this project takes shape in the large spaces of Löwenbräukust Contemporary Art Center.
A large installation, consisting of glass sculptures and various materials, is linked to the film screened in the experimental setting of the schwarzescafé, in which workshops and performances alternate with meetings and talks on the theme of mental illness. Artists, art therapists and visitors, so-called neurotypical and nonneurotypical, will together reflect upon the importance of the relationship between art and mental illness, in the process of destigmatizing the latter. The countries involved are Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, England, Romania and Czech Republic.
Fogarolli has forged relationships with some of their major psychiatric institutions, developing a direct confrontation with those who live in these areas, putting into discussion the classification processes of mental distress and the consequent marginalisation of the individual. Pneuma is a project which is presented through various exhibitions including those recently concluded at the STATE Studio in Berlin, La Fondazione di Roma, the MARe Museum in Bucharest and the exhibition in question, it will then continue onto MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna. At the end of the exhibitions, a catalogue will be published including essays written by those from both the medical and artistic field. It will also include a series of unpublished images that will chronologically retrace the project’s preliminary research on a geographical journey. A series of pneumaevents, laboratories, seminars, conferences and screenings will be hosted by international partner institutions: medical research centres, universities, academies, associations and centres for mental health treatments. The final works will then become part of MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna’s permanent collection.
About Christian Fogarolli:
Christian Fogarolli is an Italian artist born in 1983. He obtained a Master’s degree in study, diagnostics and restoration of modern and contemporary ancient paintings at the University of Verona in 2010 and obtained a specialist degree in conservation of cultural heritage at the University of Trento. His research is underpinned by the relationship between art and scientific theories and disciplines and how the latter has unconsciously made use of creative means to lead to progress. His works attempt to question the hierarchical relationship between different species, the regulatory attributions of deviance and disease and the canonical methods of museum, scientific and archival categorisation. His practice stems from historical research into the contemporary world through different forms of expression, from environmental installation to photography, from sculpture to video.
Project supported by the Italian Council (6th Edition 2019) program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism
Exhibition duration: 10. October – 29. November 2020
Address and Contact:
Limmatstr. 268, 8005 Zürich
Christian Fogarolli – www.fogarolli.eu