A practice-led exploration into the relationship between art and psychosis

Kabitsis, Nikolaos (2009) A practice-led exploration into the relationship between art and psychosis. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The goal of this project was to invent a new way of combining artistic practice (in the studio) with psychopathology. As a sculptor, I aimed to find a novel artistic direction which would allow me to create sculpture, as a practitioner in a Postmodernist context, influenced by psychology and more specifically psychosis. Initially I examined the concept of psychosis both as a medical and psychological condition, by looking at its symptoms, categories, and causes, from ancient times to the present. I also examined psychosis, or mental illness in a more general sense, as a social condition by exploring the effects of institutionalisation, and the upkeep of patients from the ancient times to the present. This served as an introduction to the condition in order to enable me to refer to various of its characteristics (both psychological and social) later on in the study. As a next step I investigated the history of psychotic artistic creation by looking at the establishment of the concept of Psychotic Art, and its psychological bases. I then approached the interrelationship of art and psychosis by looking at the effects of art on psychosis. For this I examined some common artistic characteristics (elements and principles of design, and subject mater) of artwork by patients who were previously (to the onset of the disorder) untrained in art. Following that, I approached the interrelationship from the opposite angle by looking at the effects of psychosis on art, and investigated the artworks of previously trained artists who continued to produce work after the onset of psychosis. The next step was to explore the effects of Psychotic Art on Modernism by looking at the influence it has exerted upon certain Modernist movements (Expressionism, Surrealism, and Art Brut) who I named 'Simulators' of Psychotic Art, and its similarities with other forms of 'marginal' art. With this I introduced the concept of Simulation. Afterwards I examined the Simulation of Psychotic Art by Postmodernist artists and the changes it went through due to the differences in Postmodernist artistic practices. Finally, I adopted certain psychological features of the psychotic condition and, utilising the concept of Simulation, combined them with Postmodernist practices (for example conceptual art) in order to create my own blend of contemporary artistic practice directly linked to psychopathology. It resulted in the creation of a series of descriptions of potential sculptural pieces which were inscribed on walls (and other environmental surroundings) of the educational institution where I undertook the study. This was in fashion with early artistic creation of institutionalised patients (which was also on walls) and placed me in the category of contemporary Simulators of Psychotic Art. The artistic process I have utilised for the creation of the sculptural pieces can ideally be replicated by other contemporary art practitioners in order to create art influenced by other psychopathological or pathological states.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: C800 Psychology
W100 Fine Art
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2010 15:50
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2022 09:45
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1111

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