Exhibiting the works of mental health service users alongside those of leading contemporary artists including established names such as George Barber, David Blandy and Laure Prouvost, the theme of the show resonates with the current movement towards prioritising principles of ‘care in the community’ for the treatment of mental health problems over extended hospitalisation.
It challenges perceptions of those suffering mental distress and confronts the fear of communities at the idea of free integration.
The art world has long been fascinated by the notion of ‘outsider art’ and this idea of unbridled and untrained creativity has previously led to exhibitions like Inner Worlds Outside at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2006.
Those behind ‘Scare in the Community’ however, feel that though giving the self-taught artists credibility by exhibiting their work alongside that of more established artists, such exhibitions do not sufficiently challenge the authority of the art institution to select who is included and who is not.
‘Scare in the Community‘, unlike previous ‘outsider’ art exhibitions, shows work that attempts to break down the walls of the art gallery alongside work that responds to the implications of the closure of asylums over the past decades.
“As artists we challenge the authority of the art institution and question the idea that you are either ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the art system,” says Jon Purnell, who has curated and organised the event with Julika Gittner.
“We’re showing videos, performances and installations by artists with and without mental health issues in order to challenge ideas of normality and exclusionism.”
The one night event will showcase a selection of art works (videos, performances, 2-D and 3-D works) that highlight the problems faced by those suffering from mental illness, and question ideas of cultural identity, and challenge our traditional view of art itself.
In ‘Upside Down Minutiae’ (2001) George Barber films several people suspended head down on the back of a lorry that drives through the city, breaking art out of the gallery confines by using a mobile art space to take it directly into the public domain.
Scare in the Community
109 Homerton High Street
6:00pm Saturday 24 October