Mental illness is one of the world’s leading health challenges. Most of us will encounter mental health problems at some point in our lives; whether it be our own inner struggles or those of our family, friends or coworkers.
Despite the advances in awareness and treatment there is a persistent stigma associated with those experiencing psychological health concerns, which in turn makes the conversation around the topic difficult for many.
The group exhibition «Control» brings together five individuals who through their artistic practices seek to understand, document and cope with their personal relationships to mental health.
Since the age of 16, Laura Hospes (NL, 1994) has turned the camera on herself in an attempt to come to terms with her internal struggles and connect to those around her. Hospes’ black and white self portraiture gives us an arresting glimpse into the world of a young woman dealing with depression and anxiety.
Antonia Attwood (UK, 1991) produces video work which also attempts to make visual what many consider an invisible illness. First documenting her own struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, the exhibited work «My Mother Tongue» explores her mothers experience with bipolar disorder.
For Ayala Gazit (IL, 1984) it was less of a gradual realisation and more of a sudden reality she was faced with. Within months of her discovering she had a half brother James, living in Australia, he had taken his own life. After years of mourning his loss, «Was it a dream» is Ayala’s alternative family album; combining vernacular images, letters and photos from Australia and Israel, her brother she never knew can continue to exist.
The autobiographical photography of Katy Lane (UK, 1988) documents not only her families mental health struggles, as the wife of Anton Newcombe, but also the rock n roll lifestyle of her extended family The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Her personal and intimate photos give us some insight into a world many of us can’t imagine, in particular the reality of sadness and isolation.
«Psychosomagic» for some may be the most confronting work in the exhibition. After 15 years living in Australia, Flavia Schuster (AR, 1976) returned to her native Argentina and went directly to Borda Neuropsychiatric Hospital. For the next five years she taught photography to the patients, created her own work and dated another volunteer working at the centre. The resulting body of work presents an honest, touching, and emotional look inside the lives of those no longer able to survive in our everyday world.