6 May 2009

Madness & Modernity

'Madness & Modernity: Mental illness and the visual arts in Vienna 1900' is an exhibition curated by Leslie Topp and Gemma Blackshaw at the Wellcome Collection in London.

It is not your usual art gallery, but has several exhibition spaces concentrating on matters medical and mental.

'Portrait of Heinrich Mann' by Max Oppenheimer, 1910.

Max Oppenheimer seriously rivalled Kokoschka as a portrait-painter. In 1911, rows erupted between the two artists over who could lay claim to the invention of the ‘psychological portrait’. Oppenheimer’s depiction of the German novelist Heinrich Mann in a state of nervous enervation, with flickering eyelids, rigid limbs and splayed fingers, was declared a ‘Kokoschka-copy’. Heinrich was Thomas Mann's brother, who continually engaged with themes of mental illness, incarceration and freedom in his fiction.

There is an interesting video discussion with the curators on the website.

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