The works that make up the exhibition Visiones paralelas. Artistas modernos y arte marginal (Parallel Visions. Modern Artists and Marginal Art) encompass questions on the limits of art and the nature of artistic activity - while incorporating romantic traditions and examining the same definition of what art is, this debate looms over twentieth century culture. The studies of Sigmund Freud devoted to the artistic-therapeutic production of psychiatric patients at the beginning of the century and the publication of doctor Hans Prinzhorn's book Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (1922) (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which includes a collection of art created by the mentally ill and serves as an introduction to their images, form the primary foundations of the search and defence of a new model and paradigm of artistic creativity throughout the first half of the century, expounded by an ongoing reinvention that is not tarnished by established or received culture and traditions. By way of a chronological journey through twentieth-century art, and through premises of dialogues on formal analogies and historical relations, this exhibition endeavours to render the close relationship and interchanges between modern art and the artistic output of marginalised, alienated, mentally ill, self-taught and compulsive visionary figures.
The exhibit gets underway with Paul Klee and Surrealism with his piece on psychological automatism and the subject-creator; Jean Dubuffet, Art Brut theorist and founder of the museum that goes under the same name; the members of theCoBrA Group with their approach to New Primitivism; Alfonso Osorio, the bridge between Europe and the USA, and the Chicago Group. It comes to a close with contemporary artists such as Anette Messager, Christian Boltanski and Donald Baechler. It shows how the interest that causes each artist to consider the creative worth in madness and even promote the work of marginal artists is different. While some recognise the formulation of spontaneous language that gives rise to subjective and intuitive impulses, others, Salvador Dalí for instance, with his conquest of the irrational, look to rigourously control the creative process and understand it as: “The transcription of an imagined reality that occurs previously in the artist's mind, or hallucinations in the case of psychiatric patients”, in the words of Roger Cardinal. Years later German Neo-expressionist artists such as Georg Baselitz and Jörg Immendorf substantiate the art of psychiatric patients as a paradigm of transgression used as a type of critique about modern culture.
In this, an osmosis between modern artists and marginal art, the exhibition unveils a kind of continuity in formal aspects, recognising them as the dominant language, together with assemblage and object art, and a figuration intersected by Surrealism and Expressionism.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (October 18, 1992 - January 3, 1993); Kunsthalle, Basel (July 4 - August 29, 1993); Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo (September 30 - December 12, 1993)