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Touring activities

Francesc Tosquelles

Like a Sewing Machine in a Wheat Field

Madrid / Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid)

The exhibition ¨Francesc Tosquelles. Like a Sewing Machine in a Wheat Field¨ was presented in Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, in Madrid, after being shown at Musée FRAC Occitanie, in Toulouse and at Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona.

The exhibition narrates the story of the psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles (Reus 1912 – Granges-sur-Lot, 1994) who was exiled to France in 1939 after taking part of the Aragon Front during the Spanish Civil War.

Concentrating his activity in the Institut Pere Mata in Reus and especially in Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole Psychiatric Hospital, the doctor developed a new psychiatric practice, gathering clinical practice, politics and culture. This innovative method managed to humanize the psychiatric institution during a fascist Europe.

The Saint-Alban sanatorium welcomed avantgarde artists such as Paul Éluard and Tristan Tzara who lived alongside doctors, nurses, and other patients, questioning the traditional division between normality and pathology, strengthening the social bonds and humanizing the hospital. Tosquelles initiated innovative artistic practices, causing the birth of Art Brut and contributed to the inclusion of psychiatric patients who were considered “marginal” people.

The show ¨ portrays Tosquelles’s political, cultural and professional life by featuring an extensive selection of historical and documentary materials, besides art pieces created by avantgarde artists and patients at Saint-Alban Hospital which are now part of the Collection de l’Art Brut, in Lausanne, and other private collections.