An Infinitely Beautiful Mind, Exhibition in conjunction with Autistica, Frieze Art Fair & Deutsche Bank
Knapp Gallery, London, 5-16th October
In conjunction with Frieze London, leading autism research charity Autistica presents the pioneering exhibition, An Infinitely Beautiful Mind. Curators Mehta Bell Projects draw on a powerful selection of artworks celebrating the creativity, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of a collection of engaging artists which explore an alternative way of seeing and experiencing the world. These artists share a collective desire to represent human experience through detailed and highly laborious artistic techniques. Fusing artworks from a diverse selection of artists ranging from modern masters, contemporary and emerging talents right through to Outsider artists; this exhibition transcends conventional classifications, with the real surprise being that amongst this remarkable showcase, autistic artists sit comfortably alongside the established mainstream, a synthesis that unfortunately does not always manifest in everyday society. The exhibition will be held in the beautiful Knapp Gallery in Regent’s Park, just minutes away from the Frieze Art Fair. This selection of disparate artists highlights a mutual energy and commitment to creating striking works of art, that are complex, intricate and breathtakingly executed.
These talented creatives see the world through a different lens, and present an insightfully individual and unique perspective. It is often said that people with autism are wired differently, and the images they create appear to be filtered through an alternative channel, almost presenting a parallel world. It is precisely this idea of individuals perceiving things in a different way that connect all the artists in the exhibition, whether they are autistic or not. These artists express their ideas with creative freedom and abandon and it is through this approach that they are able to produce their vivid masterpieces. Their universe is often highly structured, with rigorous patterns or motifs repeated across the picture plane. It is this meticulous and almost obsessive technique that links all the artists in the exhibition, demonstrating the infinite capabilities of one’s imagination and creative journey. This systematic and labour-intensive approach can be interpreted as the artists’ understanding and attempt at ordering the world, to make sense of life’s complexities and random nature. Jon Adams, an artist with autism on the board of the Arts Council reinforces this idea, “certain features of autistic people – ‘obsessions’ and repetitive behaviour – previously regarded as purposeless, are highly purposive, intelligent (hyper-systemising), and a sign of a different way of thinking.”
Autism is a life-long developmental disability affecting communication and social abilities. For the vast majority, autism is a life long struggle which often requires a lifetime of specialist support. For many sufferers, art unlocks their struggles and difficulties with communication and provides a vibrant and expressive medium with which to express their ideas and allow their imagination to run wild. Just as the artists themselves are liberated from the boundaries of image-making, Mehta Bell Projects seek to transcend the conventional curatorial approach and unite this disparate group of artists to
celebrate the singular talent and distinct characteristics of these beautiful minds.
1 in 100 people in the UK have autism, affecting 2.5m families. Through vital scientific research Autistica strives to improve diagnosis and access to support that families so desperately need. This showcase aims to raise funds for support and crucial research into autism to unlock the answers to better mental health for everyone with the condition. Of equal importance is to raise awareness about the disorder and encourage a better understanding in order to create a brighter future for people with autism and their families. There will be a screening of Marc Schlossman’s poignant film “We Are Fine Enough”, originally commissioned by Channel 4, documenting the life of Charlie, a five-year-old boy with severe autism, and the experiences of his mother Cynthia, and the journey they embark on together. Autistica have been nominated as Deutsche Bank’s ‘Charity of the Year’, and with their support, and the invaluable endorsement of the Frieze Art Fair, all parties involved hope to raise funds for this worthy cause.