Healing Art. Paths to a Better Life

Ausstellung Lichtentaler Allee 8, 76530 Baden-Baden, DE

The exhibition Healing Art: Paths to a Better Life takes up various forms of searching for healing in art and society beginning in the late nineteenth century with the Lebensreform or “life reform” movement.

Autor: GRENKE-Stiftung

23 Stationen

1. Healing Art. Paths to a Better Life

Who were the artists in search of healing and a sense of purpose, who strove for alternative ways of living? What approaches to healing did art take? Can the experience of nature be healing? Can an engagement with spirituality be life-fulfilling? Can art heal?

2. Back to Nature! The Lebensreform Movement

A programmatic aspect for those seeking healing in this period was the slogan of the naturopath Adolf Just, “return to nature,” which had its roots in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, combined with the call to integrate human beings in nature.

3. Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

One of the pioneers of the Lebensreform movement was the German painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach.

4. Vegetarianism

Proponents of Lebensreform promised themselves a life “close to nature” by way of vegetarian diet.

5. Nudism

The body held a place of special importance in the Lebensreform movement.

6. Hugo Höppener alias Fidus

Born in Lübeck in 1868, Hugo Höppener became interested in vegetarianism and alternative therapies as a youth.

7.Communal Life in Nature: Grötzingen Painters’ Colony

Based on the model of the Barbizon School, a group of painters founded a painter colony Grötzingen near Karlsruhe in 1890.

8. A Search for Meaning on the Mountain: The Sanatorium Monte Verità

Several sanatoriums were established in the German-speaking world. Among the most famous was the artists’ colony Monte Verità in Ascona. The Belgian son of an industrialist Henri Oedenkoven and his partner, pianist Ida Hofmann, established this sanatorium on the so-called Mountain of Truth on the Swiss coast of the Lago Maggiore, advertising widely.

9. Beautifying Interiors

Around the turn of the century, a reform-oriented interior design began to emerge. In contrast to industrial mass production, which took its stylistic inspiration from historicism, a demand for bright rooms and beautifying interiors began to develop.

10. Heinrich Vogeler’s “Barkenhoff”

In 1894, Vogeler acquired a farmhouse in need of renovation. He gutted and renovated the house and installed a studio, transforming what was formerly the pigsty into a library.

11. To Live More Freely

The profound changes resulting from industrialization shaped not only the society and the economy, but were also taken up in art: in dance, for example. Many dancers now sought to free themselves from the conventions imposed on the body and to return to a primal rhythm of movement, freed from the standards and constraints of society.

12. Healing with Spirituality

Scientific evidence, for example, on the measurability of invisible phenomena (for example X-rays, radioactivity, or electromagnetic waves) gave rise to a spiritual and artistic engagement with the invisible.

13. Rudolf Steiner

An all-round genius, a life reformer, a pedagogue, or a savior: Who was Rudolf Steiner?

14. The Goetheanum

The impressive domed structure, placed on a hill above the village of Dornbach, became a theater for mystery plays, eurhythmics performances, and a center of the anthroposophical movement.

15. Emma Kunz

“My pictorial work is for the twenty-first century,” the naturopath, researcher, and artist Emma Kunz predicted. Her art was only discovered after her death in 1963 and now has been acknowledged internationally.

16. Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys is considered one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. His work revolves around subjects such as loneliness, wounding, and healing.

17. A Journey to the Self: The Healing Power of Art

With the rise of psychoanalysis, the psyche increasingly became a focus in art.

18. Else Blankenhorn

During her stays at Bellevue and Reichenau, she made music, composed, wrote, and translated, before beginning to draw and to paint in 1908. Her subjects were lovers, nature, and religious motifs.

19. August Natterer

His artistic productivity shows that painting and drawing were important means for him to understand his oppressive sensations and mad notions.

20. Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Lohse-Wächtler’s portraits of patients at the asylums Friedrichsberg and Arnsdorf are not depictions of illness, but show individuals with their own stories to tell.

21. Karl Genzel

Karl Genzel is one of the ten artists psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn portrayed in his work Artistry of the Mentally Ill.

22. Frida Kahlo

In her works, Frida Kahlo processed her physical pain, the traumas of her childhood, the loss of her unborn children, and the emotional struggles of her marriage.

23. Hermann Hesse

As part of his psychotherapy, Hermann Hesse undertook his first attempts at painting: creating dream images, self-portraits, interiors, and landscapes.

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