la maison rouge presents Under Influences: visual arts and psychotropics

la maison rouge presents Under Influences: visual arts and psychotropics, a major exhibition which addresses the relationship between artists and psychotropics, on view until May 19, 2013.

Carsten HollerCarsten Holler, Amanite fluorescente, 2004. Photo © DR, courtesy Air de Paris, Paris.

Since the dawn of time, or rather of humanity, our fellow men have crossed the path of psychoactive substances, plants, mushrooms and various concoctions. These encounters have led to stupefaction, intoxication, dependence, mystical insights, relief, death, even epiphany.

Artists, who are constantly in search of doors to creation, passageways, catalysts, transgressions, stimuli and ways to penetrate figments of the mind, were all but compelled to try out their effects.

Leaving moral judgement, socio-judicial standpoints, psychological interpretations and preconceived aesthetic choices aside, the exhibition proposes (necessarily non-exhaustive) examples of the interrelations between creative processes and the use of psychodynamic substances. The most readily accessible illustration is the visual representation of substances or their use. Such images are heavily dependent on prevailing morals, and the balance of power between transgressive experiences and legislation. Consequently, the works can be viewed on a range of levels, from historic document to art. A second aspect includes works which, intentionally or unintentionally, have a near-psychotropic effect on the viewer (installations, environments, psycho-sensorial devices).

The third corpus, and the core of the subject, comprises works produced deliberately under or concomitant to the use of psychoactive substances: artists experimenting with thought modifiers for creative purposes. Films and videos are an important part of the exhibition as, by accounting for time in plastic expression, they make possible original attempts to transcribe and document altered thoughts and perceptions.

Some artists have used psychotropic substances old and new to tripwire creativity and chart journeys into “madness,” which in certain cases have proved uncontrollable or a source of suffering. Translating these experiences into the aesthetic realm, as presented here, enables each individual to realize the constant complexity of their effects.

la maison rouge
10 Bd de la Bastille
75012 Paris, France