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Richly illustrated book accompanying an exhibition that tells the story of fools, idiots and madmen, whilst stressing the importance of mental wellbeing in an increasingly complex society The exhibition runs from 12 October 2019 to 31 December 2020, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent Madness deranges, throws us off balance, and makes us lose our footing. Yet some writers claim that madness is an enlargement of normality. But how can that which we cannot control belong to 'normality'? And what is normality? For more than 30 years, the permanent display on psychiatry has been the very heart of the Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent. The history of psychiatry is the inspiration for new thematic exhibitions every year, in which the museum seeks to dislodge entrenched views and deep-rooted stigmas and reframe them in the context of today. In October 2019, this permanent display received a make-over and has been presented under the title 'Unhinged', in which the Museum Dr. Guislain offers a fresh look at its own history as a museum. The richly illustrated publication explores the boundaries of the traditional and goes in search of the sane in the insane. It provides an overview of psychiatry on the basis of five contemporary themes that enter into dialogue with each other: 'power and powerlessness', 'body and mind', 'architecture', 'classification' and 'imagination'. Historical documents are also put side by side with contemporary art, creating a dynamic interpretation. This new approach reflects today's 'crazy' society, in which, happily, increasing attention is being paid to psychological vulnerability, but in which mental health care is also facing new challenges more than ever.
About the Author
Patrick Allegaert studied philosophy, criminology and educational sciences at KU Leuven. He used to be the artistic director of the Dr. Guislain Museum, where he is now the artistic advisor and policy advisor. Arnout De Cleene studied cultural sciences and literature at KU Leuven, where he obtained his PhD with a thesis on the relationship between literature and madness. He works as a scientific staff member and policy advisor at the Dr. Guislain Museum. Yoon Hee Lamot studied art history at Ghent University. She is a scientific staff member at the Dr. Guislain Museum. Bart Marius is the artistic director of the Dr. Guislain Museum. He studied clinical psychology and art history at Ghent University. He has worked on many exhibitions and publications over the years. Andrew Scull is the author of many books on the history of psychiatry, including Madness in Civilization, which has been translated into a dozen languages (London: Thames and Hudson/Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015). Sarah van Bouchaute studied history at Ghent University. She is a scientific staff member at the Dr. Guislain Museum.