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08 Sep 2015

Cooperation between professional artists and adults with mental deficiency: L`enfer c`est les autres


L`enfer c`est les autres
D21 Art Space Leipzig


Opening Thursday, 10th of September 2015, 7pm Duration of the Exhibition: 11th of September until 4th of October 2015 Friday until sunday, 3pm until 7pm Panel discussion on Sunday, 19th of September 2015, 7pm

Susanne Reinhardt
+49 341 6796190

D21 Kunstraum Leipzig
Demmeringstr. 21

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Is art, are artists, is an exhibition able to change something about the existing (or non-existing) relation between the marginalized minority and the large public majority? On Thursday, 10th of september 2015, the D21 Kunstraum Leipzig will open its doors for the exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« (Hell is other people). The exhibition does not try to answer this question, but assumes that it is possible and searches for adequate methods of implementation. »L`enfer c`est les autres« is a cooperation between professional artists and adults with mental deficiency.

In most projects with people with mental deficiency the focus and most of the effort is invested in the work with the adults with mental deficiency. It seems like there is hope, that after a successfull work and exhibition of the art, these adults can be released as different persons: Persons who act like all the other and are seen and accepted like that by society because of their artistic expressiveness. But mostly it is not the case.

The concept of the exhibition is aware of this difficulty and assumes that a reintegration is not possible. But it is possible to integrate a subset of the society into the lifes of people with mental deficiency. That is why the exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« tries to reach healthy, „normal' people – the majority of society. These „normal' people are responsible for creating and strengthen the relationship between themselves and the people with mental deficiency, not the latter.

Every artist or artistgroup developed a concept which enables the work and interaction with people with mental deficiency. Of course it was not a condition that ist an artistic cooperation but it is obvious. In the past weeks, the artists worked together with people with mental deficiency in the Lebenshilfe Leipzig (an organization for people with mental deficiency in Leipzig). Some of them worked in a group of one artist and one person with mental deficiency, some with one artist and a group of mentally disabled persons. Soon it became clear, that the interaction with mentally disabled people differs from the artits expectations and that their first concept of work was not realizable. According to that the exposed artwork emerged from an exchange of both sides where the participating persons got involved with each other.

The artists concepts are not about improving the skills and dictions of the persons with mental deficieny or making them „better artists'. Instead they try to develop, investigate and reflect new, alternative and reproducible possibilities of interaction with marginalized minorities.

Areas of interaction are built, which make sense in a sensual-experiential way, because of their seriousness, which has nothing to do with an ergotherapy. The professional artists do have a high requirement to the final results, the arcitecture of the exhibition, the quality of the materials and the contextualisation of the exhibition room. Furthermore they bring along a tension which is transmitted to the mentally disabled persons in a nonverbal way. Thereby a meaning is built which would not exist if all the participants would just try to disport. At the same time social relationships are built, investigated or strenghtend. This is what art is able to do.

Free entry.

Artists: ART N MORE, Thomas Bramer, Anita Dittmann, Florian Dorst, Paula Gehrmann, Tine Günther, Clemens Meyer, Bea Meyer, Nadine Richter, Janet Schöne, Kathrin Thiele, Franziska Wittig
Curation: Enrico Meyer
Curation assistence: Tino Geiss and Paul Ziolkowski
Supporting program: Panel discussion on Sunday, 19th of September 2015, 7pm
moderated by Tim Thoelke

The exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« is a cooperation with Lebenshilfe Leipzig e.V. It is aided by the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen and the Kulturamt of Leipzig. Special thanks goes to Georgiana But and the students of the seminar »International PR for cultural institutions« (Institut für Kulturwissenschaften der Universität Leipzig) for the good cooperation and guidance.