Art is Therapy
Alain de Botton & John Armstrong organise exhibition in Rijksmuseum.
From 25 April, British writers and philosophers Alain de Botton & John Armstrong will be showing in the Rijksmuseum what art can mean to visitors. And not so much from an (art-)historical point of view, but focusing rather on the therapeutic effect that art can have and the big questions in life that art can answer. In the exhibition Art is Therapy, De Botton (1969) and Armstrong (1966) will be commenting on 150 artworks on display in the Rijksmuseum galleries, from the Middle Ages right through to the 20th century, including the Asian Pavilion, but also on objects in the shop, café, cloakroom and entrance. They have also selected approx. 40 prints from the Rijksmuseum Print Room. The text boards have been designed by Irma Boom and added to the museum’s original ones. De Botton and Armstrong believe that these new captions shed an entirely new light on the Rijksmuseum collection. This exhibition will be the first time that the philosophers put their theories from their latest book Art as Therapy into practice.
Art is Therapy
Buy the catalogue here
The text reads:
Health involves the capacity to think creatively about ways that things could be better. That’s what depression cuts off. Who knows what it would be really like in Constant’s world. But we can only admire the detail and grandeur of the vision.
An utopia is a strategically exaggerated response to the perceived troubles of the day. Constant has set out to depict an urban environment that constitutes a victory over unreliability, quiet despair, lack of purpose, inefficiency and loneliness. The diagnosis is useful, even if the solution isnt necessarily to recreate cities as vast machines.
Art can be a roadmap to the future world, a convenient placet o begin plotting for a better world. He exaggerated of course. But exaggeration is a way of getting the discussion going. We can honour the attempt, even if this isn’t actually the script that the world is going to follow.