Demented Art, Report on Chinese Mental Patients’ Art

( 癫狂的艺术, 中国精神病人艺术报告 )


Demented Art is an interdisciplinary monograph on art created by mental patients. Chinese contemporary artist Guo Haiping entered a mental hospital and wrote this book in collaboration with psychiatrist Ms. Wang Yu. This book fills a gap in the field of domestic mental patients with vivid and detailed language and pictures. Of special interest, is a series of unique viewpoints in this book, which will surely exert a profound influence on conventional thoughts and beliefs.

The book includes 11 case studies. In each, Wang gives a brief medical history about the patient from the angle of psychiatrist; Guo then writes a story about his experience with the patient and from his own artistic view.

Most of the works presented in this book were made by patients with extraordinary, indomitable willpower, or by patients who had only recently arrived in the hospital. “Of over hundred patients I interacted with, only a small proportion had actively sought to join in the art activities,” Guo said.

Two years ago, Guo planed to write a book about the mental patients in China. “The inextricably complex relationship between art and mental illness confused and attracted me,” he said.

He founded the Art Analysis Department of Nanjing Youth Psychology Consulting Center in 1989. “I encountered many young people who were seeking spiritual help and support, and I observed every kind of conflict endemic to human nature. I realized that mental illness was appearing in every corner of our society, and that what we called pathological was actually normal in our society,” he said. In the later part of the book, Guo added some excerpts of his diary in the hospital, recording his observations about the mental patients and how they painted and made ceramics.  “Living in the hospital gave me a new understanding of psychology, mental patients, art and the soul. I became aware of the weaknesses and limitations of psychological medicine and of the sorrow and desolation of the mental patients,” he said. In the end of the book, Guo and Wang gave their explanations about the special terms both in art and medicine. “It will be helpful for people to understand some certain terms, because people interested in art may not know the terms in medicine, and those interested in medicine may not know the terms in art,” he said

  • New Paperback 15*22 cm, 291 pp.


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Condition: New
ISBN: 9787535628039
Shipping Weight: 1.8lbs
Published: 2007

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