ART AND MIND gets 7/10 Mind’s eye

Directed by Amélie Ravalec

Starring Gérard Audinet, Bruno Decharme, Anne-Marie Dubois


Touted as a journey into art, madness and the subconscious, Art and Mind sets out to look at the depiction of madness from medieval woodcut to outsider art. The art of Bosch, Goya, Van Gogh, Blake, Munch, Dali, Ernst, and a slew of others are covered here. It also looks at the interlinking of art and mental health from a historical, psychological, and creative perspective.

A traditional, but solid, take to the documentary format, Art and Mind expands its narrative by inter-cutting artworks with standard talking heads interviews from both the art and medical experts. Where it does distinguish itself, is in the density of information it conveys through its short run time. Art and Mind is rich in its subject matter, hitting the ground running, and never letting up from the relentless pace it sets itself. Within the course of just over an hour, it covers the perception of madness (and the variety of mental health conditions lumped in under this umbrella term) from the middle ages through to the modern era, looking at how that has been expressed in art, how it has evolved, how art and ideal around it have shaped that evolution, the interrelation between that and famous artists, how it affected the growth of psychology, and how art has been used as a therapeutic tool – and that is an extensively abridged recap of the subject matter covered.

As such, Art and Mind can feel like an assault to the senses, a bombardment of information and imagery. It is also invigorating, challenging you to keep up with its pace, and absorb its rich text and meaning. By the end you feel exhausted, but also with a touch of mania about you, as your thoughts race to dissect the meaning. Perhaps the most interesting suggestion is the linking of madness and creativity, something the documentary comes back to again and again, in different iterations. It is more than just a romantic notion of an artist, tinged with a sense of the tragic, but rather looking at a willingness to break from conventional perception, allowing the subconscious to speak.

A dense tome of both art and the psychological, that makes for rewarding viewing.

Art and Mind is screening on Saturday July 27, Sunday July 28, and Tuesday July 30. For details and session times please check the website.


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