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Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg

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until August 26, 2018

"Restlessness and Architecture" features 150 paintings and works on paper created by artists marginalised in institutions, illustrating the interaction between man and construction.

Architecture has a tremendous influence on our lives and experiences – this holds true especially for people who spent the better part of their lives behind the walls of psychiatric institutions. The historical Prinzhorn collection, which contains works of psychiatric patients from around 1900, contains not only depictions of institutions and patient‘s cells and rooms but also a great variety of various architectural motifs, ranging from small abstract sketches to large and extravagant drawings. Our Exhibition “Restlessness and Architecture” presents a selection of 150 works on paper and paintings, many of which have not yet been on show to the general public.

The artworks display the subject of architecture in relation to various other topics such as people, landscape or writing and ornamentation, thus illustrating the interaction between man and construction. Only a small portion of the works is created by architects or other professionals of the building trade, which allowed for a greater freedom of imagination and artistic realization. Architecture can be a mere embellishment or a means to illustrate the story of one’s own life. A building can represent dreams as well as nightmares. It can be a visual expression of a soul in turmoil. The depiction of rooms can help to locate personal experiences. The transparency of the architectural Arrangement offers a glimpse into a disturbed and disturbing inner life.

Although the exhibits of the Prinzhorn collection are self-sufficient works with a peculiar idiosyncrasy and a symbolism of their own, they nevertheless enhance the awareness of our architectural environment, raise questions and provide space for alternatives. The exhibition is held on the occasion of the Interim presentation of the International Building Exhibition Heidelberg (IBA) with the support of Stephen Craig (IBA Board of Trustees) and Carl Zillich (Curatorial Director IBA).

Prinzhorn Collection
Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Voßstraße 2, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany