Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creativity and Disease

Still thinking about Wojnarowicz's works, I read " Creativity and Disease: How illness affects literature, art and music" by Philip Sandblom, M.D., Ph.D.. First published in 1982, the book is a collection of anecdotes: Matisse was trained as a lawyer but following appendicitis became a painter, Schumann was a pianist but became a composer because he suffered from arthritis... The author describes mental diseases, congenital malformations, aging, defects of sight, hearing, pain, tuberculosis and their effects on the artists and their creativity. He also makes an early disclaimer, stating that the content is not scientific. It is a great reading, giving some insight into the artists lives and their challenges. Visiting the Hirshorn, I finally understood the paper cut collages from Henri Matisse, made at the end of his life. He was unable to stand due to a huge ventral hernia, but kept drawing on the walls around his bed with a long cane. A picture of the scene is included in the book with 82 other illustrations. It contains also 154 references for further reading. Overall, the book brings a new dimension to the artists works, allowing the reader to look at them under another angle. Ultimately, artists have to overcome their human conditions to become creators. photograph by the author "La Negresse", Henri Matisse, 1952

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