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Artist portraits (56): Luke Fowler
Frankfurter Rundschau | 01.08.2002
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++++ Luke Fowler from Glasgow does not want to be uniquely identifiable. For the staging of his portrait photo he therefore borrowed somebody as a stand-in. Of course it is not revealed who is who here. But here is a clue: Luke is only 23 but looks a bit younger.
In his work, however, he engages with a topic which forces even many mature adults to capitulate, namely, serious psychic suffering. At Manifesta 4 he is showing the film What You See Is Where You’re At, a study of the social experiment of Kingsley Hall in the east end of London.
On the initiative of the psychoanalyst and author, Ronnie Laing, a permanent community of psychically ill persons was founded in the mid-sixties in the community hall to find out new ways of dealing with what most people call madness. This included, for instance, doing away with the hierarchies between doctor and patient with the result that in the course of the experiment, the distinction between the two became increasingly difficult to make.
Luke Fowler is interested, on the one hand, in the almost surreal relationships which developed at that time among those involved. But a private relevance also gave him a reason to engage critically with this alternative form of therapy. "First of all, the experiment at Kingsley Hall interested me for personal reasons," he declares, "that is, because of my disillusionment about today's psychiatry, on the basis of my experiences with the way in which my father was treated by the system, and from a generally healthy, cynical attitude towards institutions".
For his film, Luke Fowler used existing documentary material which he re-edited. He also contacted some of those formerly involved in the courageous experiment to leave the traditional paths of psychotherapy. One of these is Leon Redler, who also wrote the catalogue text for Luke Fowler. "I hope that Luke's work will stimulate people to reread Laing's texts and to rethink the questions which he addressed. These are questions which are just as important today as they were back then. There is more at stake than we perhaps realize."
Luke Fowler: Video in the display window of the gallery Finger, Alte Mainzer Gasse 4-6, until 25 August. hoh

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