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“Open Mind (Closed Circuits)”

Museum van Hendendaagse Kunst

For the exhibition “Open Mind (Closed Circuits),” curator Jan Hoet chose as his point of departure a pair of extremes, opposite poles: the “healthy” classical ideal of art, as represented by the academy, and the art of the mentally ill. During the Enlightenment, the period when the academies were established, artistic expression and mental imbalance were regarded as mutually incompatible. In the radiant light of reason, all emotion, individuality, and peculiarity were put down as inadequate, hence inadmissible. The academy demanded an artistic ideal that aimed at regularity, lawfulness, and orderly delimitation; fantasy and obsession were banned from the world of academic art.

However, parallel to that development, the German Sturm und Drang rejected the classical insistence on reason and venerated the artist’s feelings and individuality. This led to the German cult of the genius, the

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