Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the by Hans Prinzhorn

By Hans Prinzhorn

Greater than 70 years after its first e-book in German, Artistry of the Mentally in poor health by means of Hans Prinzhorn continues to be a vintage in regards to the borderland among psychiatry and artwork, affliction and self-expression. The drawings, work and sculptures accumulated and analyzed by way of Prinzhorn are the goods of artistically untrained and unpracticed people – inmates of asylums. This ebook represents one of many first makes an attempt to investigate the inventive paintings of the mentally sick. thoroughly spontaneous they're in sharp distinction to more moderen collections that are the goods of occupational treatment or psychotherapy. prior to Prinzhorn, works through the mentally unwell have been thought of curiosities, by no means the topic of medical or inventive research. despite the fact that, to Prinzhorn they have been "the eruptions of an common human inventive urge” counteracting the autistic developments towards isolation. Prinzhorn demonstrates excellent parallels among his assortment and people by means of childrens, and among historic Greek cultures and primitive ones.

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Additional resources for Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration

Sample text

Configurauon. Sigmficance, . I M eamng . s·1gn, " R atwna ~~ Need to Communicate ~ Writing 14 ~ I Orname~-~-=~oration Schema of the Tendencies of Configuration Sacred Art Closely allied to the central need for expression and similar to it in that they too are only remotely determined by objects are only two such compulsions, drives, or needs (the choice of words does not matter here), namely the urges to play and to adorn oneself. Both have sometimes been called the points of origin of configuration.

13 compulsion in the narrow sense. lnstead it is dependent on its use of other compulsive expressive means whose avenues for realization are already determined. In this sense it differs from the directed urges, which turn into unambiguous acts and are always inherently purposeful, such as the urge to play or to imitate, or the sex drive. The expressive urge can be understood only as an ever-present atmosphere, like the erotic. For that reason one cannot convince anyone of its existence who has not hirnself experienced it directly, and we shall not discuss it further but turn instead to the pictures in which it is evident.

The words "idol" and "symbol" are used not quite consistently with these facts. An idol is magic power; the symbol implies it. What is described as a fetish in the nanower sense is always an idol. Idols exist only in primitive forms of thought. The symbol, on the other hand, remains alive with minor transformations to this day, together with analogaus actions in popular customs and church ceremonies. A scientist used to thinking simply of causes and effects may easily fail to note how these remains of magic preconceptions retain their vitality in naive heads even today.

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