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The Doors of Perception: Frieze New York 2019


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The Doors of Perception focused on the visionary nature of art commonly known as outsider art, art brut, or self-taught art. The exhibition at Frieze New York presented a large constellation of works made by exceptionally gifted artists from five continents, offering a panorama of art created on the margins of society. Whether psychiatric patients, self-taught visionaries, or mediums, each of the artists in the exhibition felt at some point in their life the need to create an artistic language of their own in order to reveal what they understood to be the true nature of things. Often disenfranchised because of their mental condition or social status and without any previous artistic training, many of the artists exhibited here dedicated their lives obsessively to the creation of complex visual representations, often after experiencing a life-changing epiphany. A meeting with a supernatural power—whether an encounter with the divine, spirits of the dead, or extraterrestrial beings—might have triggered this impulse to create. These remarkable events produced strong centrifugal forces that drove the artists from chaos to order, opening for them “doors of perception” to a transcendental reality that, in many cases, helped them survive their otherwise unstable life.

As William Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”

Shinichi Sawada was selected to be part of the presentation, curated by contemporary artist Javier Téllez. He was in good company alongside artists including: Carlo Zinelli, Judith Scott, Madge Gill, Marcel Storr and Henry Darger.

Fair information: May 1-5 2019

Venue: Randall’s Island Park