It’s Friday and the weekend is knocking on the door again. This week I have the honor to present you one of my favorite Belgian museums : Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent. This amazing museum on the history of psychiatry was founded in 1986 in the Brothers of Charity psychiatric institute. The choice to have the museum in the premises itself has also as a goal to stop the prejudice with regard to the practice of psychiatry. The museum hopes to succeed in proving that the concepts of ‘madness’ or ‘psychiatric disorder’ are not purely medical, but is also linked to a certain sociocultural and ideological structure. The museum has actually two collections : the history of psychiatry and the art collection. The first collection gives you a nice historical overview of psychiatry throughout different cultures and history. The Outsider art collection is work created by artists who operate outside of the professional art scene or on the fringes of society. It’s an interesting collection from work of people that could be psychiatric patients, people with intellectual disability, people who lead isolated lives and struggle to find their place in society as well as playful creative souls whose work allows them to uninhibitedly go their own way.
But the Dr. Guislain museum is much more than that. They manage to have some amazing art exhibitions with big names from the national and international art scene. Every exhibition is linked to a theme that is closely linked with our psyche and struggles. The current exhibition is built around “Shame”. It’s a feeling we all know and it can be there for many reasons. It surely has a big influence on what we do or don’t do. In this exhibition the different kinds of shame are presented, from the biblical shame of Adam and Eve, to the shame of poverty. From the shame of being different, to the shame of our desires. Contemporary and modern artists represent this feeling in paintings, sculptures, photographs and video. But also objects from other cultures, historical psychiatric documents or actual witnesses are presented to give us more insight. Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, Alioune Bâ, Sarah Baker, Michael Borremans, Robert Capa, Desiree Dolron, Marcel Duchamp, Tracey Emin, Gao Brothers, Marc Garanger, Siebe Wiemer Glastra, George Grosz, Seymour Jacobs, Gert Jochems, Nicolas Karakatsanis, Meiro Koizumi, Paul McCarthy, Boris Mikhailov, George Minne, Lauren Moffatt, Hans Op de Beeck, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Miroslav Tichý are some of the many artists on display. A visit to Dr.Guislain Museum can be sometimes be confronting and can be sometimes heavy. But there is a cafeteria where you can relax a bit when it all becomes too much. This museum is really a must see and that also counts for the exhibition “shame” (Until 29 May 2016)
Museum Dr. Guislain : Jozef Guislainstraat 43, 9000 Gent
Opening hours: Tu– Fr: 9 – 17 h / Sa – Su: 13 – 17 h