Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, whilst our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, a landmark exhibition from the Wellcome Collection ran in London (until 15th January 2017), interrogated the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asked whether and how it could be reclaimed.
Taking the Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, the exhibition juxtaposed historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.
You can listen here to an audio companion (Our Voices) to the exhibition.
And you can get more overall information from here.