Bedlam: The Asylum And Beyond

Exhibition at the Wellcome Trust following the rise and fall of the mental asylum, explore how it has created the intricate landscape of mental health today. Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, as our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, the exhibition interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed.

Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ juxtaposes historical material and medical records with individual testimonies and works by artists such as David Beales, Richard Dadd, Dora García, Eva Kotátková, Madlove: A Designer Asylum, Shana Moulton, Erica Scourti, Javier Téllez and Adolf Wölfli, whose works reflect or reimagine the institution, as both a physical and a virtual space.

Studio Dekka’s lighting design supports the overall design in registering each historical phase, creating a sensitive environment for historical artefacts on loans from the Bethlem museum, complementing the contemporary artworks and providing a contemplative place for visitors.