Self-made notebooks, books the size of an illustrated Bible, black rough-copy books, sketchbooks, eternal calendars, willenscurven, and graphs, precious prayer books, clandestine charters, and manuscripts… Under cover shows, for the first time in Flanders, works selected from among the world-famous Prinzhorn Collection (Heidelberg). The exhibition evokes the period in which these works were created and shows under cover work from several contemporary artists.
Shortly after the First World War, the German art historian and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn became fascinated with the quality of plastic art produced by patients living in psychiatric institutions. He was to collect some 5,000 works of art. But the collection was abused by the Nazi’s to build the exhibition “Degraded Art”.
Important exhibitions in London (Hayward Gallery, 1997), Los Angeles (UCLA, 2000), and Barcelona (MACBA, 2001) have brought the exceptional quality of the collection to the public’s attention.
Under cover is a collection of notebooks, self-made books, self-designed system often made secretly. What is so remarkable is the total dedication, the deep concentration, the extreme care with which these works were produced. Also the material need and the endless inspiration from which they sprung is fascinating. These works are always intriguing, sometimes very moving, and always very understandable because of the underlying, often gripping life-stories.
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