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Touring activities

La Déconniatrie

The Art, Exile and Psychiatry around François Tosquelles

Toulouse / Les Abattoirs

Before arriving to the Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Barcelona, the exhibition "Francesc Tosquelles. Like a Sewing Machine in a Field of Wheat" takes place as "La Déconniatrie: The Art, Exile and Psychiatry around François Tosquelles" at Les Abattoirs, Musée - FRAC Occitanie , in Toulouse.


The exhibition focuses on the still little-known story of Catalan psychiatrist François Tosquelles (1912–1994), whose work revolutionized the functioning of psychiatric centre, by linking politics, clinical experimentation, and culture. After taking part in the Spanish Civil War and being exiled to France, the doctor centred in the Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole psychiatric hospital, Lozère. Here, he developed new treatment methods based on many different artistic practices. During that time, the hospital welcomed avantgarde exiled artists such as Nusch, Paul Éluard and Tristan Tzara who lived alongside inpatients, peasants, nuns, doctors and nurses. 

Starting from François Toquillas’ life, the exhibition questions the relationships between art, exile and psychiatry, and the idea of creation within the context of exclusion, confinement, or hospitalisation.  It combines a history of modern art with a history of art brut and contemporary art, as well as that of psychiatry and decolonisation.

The international display contains an extensive selection of more than 100 artworks including previously unshown historical and documentary materials, avantgarde works and objects produced by patients at Saint-Alban Hospital, besides several significant contemporary projects.