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Madness & mysticism
group exhibition curated by David Rastas
Vienna 2016

The exhibition offered a rare opportunity to explore the relationship between language used to describe the psychotic state and mystical experience, exploring the spirituality of mental illness through an immersion in sacred space. Otto Wagner’s Jugendstil Church is one of very few sacred spaces built exclusively for the mentally ill, providing a sanctuary for the patients of the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. David Rastas  ​ The large-scale stencil depicts the grand dining hall of Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle embodies a fairy tale of dreams and fantasies, but also of failure and refuge. While it shines in its splendor, it also reflects the inner turmoil of its builder, King Ludwig II. Witnesses described him as "eccentric," and some even considered him "mad." In the dining hall, a peculiar ritual unfolded: food was transported directly from the kitchen to the hall using a dumbwaiter, allowing Ludwig II. to avoid direct contact with others. This peculiar behavior reflects his detachment from reality and his quest for retreat into a dream world. ​ Olivier Hölzl

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