Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Therapy as Art

When talking about art as therapy, I think it’s  easier to talk about it in the abstract and the third person.... We do this for many reasons,  I guess, and often without even realising that we do, but today I have just come right up into sharp focus with the role art can play in helping  us feel and remember and heal.

A friend of mine  has begun a small series of models created from “stuff”, and she brought her latest one in today for me to look at. I thought it was amazing, look.

She has glued a  series of resistors and fuses  onto a highly glossed wooden base, all connected to a switch, which turns on a harsh buzzer .... I asked the obvious question, is there a story behind this? Oh yes, for a start it was called ‘Resistance is Futile’, which is a witty, clever title anyway, without any back story. Her first one was called  ‘Sectioned’, which was of a large board littered with keys. And so she began to tell me about her model...

When one is sectioned and drugs are about to be administered, an alarm is rung , all staff run to where the bell is ringing and gather round the patient. They then collectively grapple with him/her to get them  onto the floor and, when the patient is outnumbered and overwhelmed, he/she is injected with sedative drugs which can take days to wear off... The fuse lying down is my friend and the other fuses are the staff, circling her. Resistance is Futile. The resistors all around show just how tied up, and closed in my friend was. Her next piece is to be called ‘Bipolar’.

My friend talked about her sculpture and her illness openly and poignantly and honestly. I was so very moved to hear her talk and quite overwhelmed not only with her, but with her art. I am so privileged to count her among my friends and so very glad that we can make our art together, and so very glad we can talk together. It is all therapeutic to me.

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