Madness and Modernity: Mental Illness and the Visual Arts in Vienna 1900
UK Lund Humphries, 2009
Produced to accompany the Wellcome Collection’s ‘Madness and Modernity’ exhibition, the book explores the theme of madness across a variety of territories in Vienna in 1900, including art and design, society and architecture, and literature and psychiatry.
The book plots the nexus between the study of mental illness and the modernist ideals of groups such as the Secessionists (including Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Otto Wagner). Designs by Wagner for the Steinhof mental hospital are juxtaposed with portraits by Oskar Kokoschka of patients interned there; self-portraits by Egon Schiele are shown alongside photographs of neurological disorder; and art works by patients are explored in the context of the spaces they inhabited and the treatments they received. Over 100 images give voice to the dialogues that existed between psychiatrists, writers, visual art practitioners and patients.