Saturday 26 October 2013

FOMA JAREMTSCHUK at Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent

FOMA JAREMTSCHUK, untitled, ink and crayon on paper, 44,8 x 33,9 cm

Des Soldats et des psychiatres
1914 -2014
Museum Dr. Guislain
01/11/2013 - 30/06/2014

"War and trauma is a double exhibition that simultaneously takes place in Ieper and in Ghent. The locations are directly connected to ‘war’ and ‘trauma’, they are both ‘lieux de mémoire’ (places of memory): one at the place of war and the front and one at the place where psychiatry and mental suffering were first ‘recognised’ in our country. This double exhibition clearly demands attention to be paid to the fate of people in the commemoration of World War I, also 100 years on.

Soldiers and ambulances

The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper deals with the organisation of general care of the injured at the front during World War I. An overview of events at the front in Flanders teaches us that no one was able to cope with the immense stream of victims of the first industrialised war.
The earliest medical care initiatives were mainly borne by philanthropy, private initiative and the heroic efforts of some. A strikingly large amount of this effort was preserved in diaries, letters, literature, photography and objects. When by 1917 and 1918, organisation and care were much better, this was not a major revolution but more what should have been expected from a modern army.
As part of the age-old philosophy of progress, people easily tend to hold on to the idea that wars are the perfect moments in history to take major steps forward in numerous areas. The history of World War I is believed to have been a wonder of progress in medicine. If this is true, than this is in spite of rather than thanks to the war. The biggest breakthrough noted in the field of medical care during World War I was undoubtedly the recognition of psychological trauma…

Soldiers and psychiatrists

The Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent departs from the ‘discovery of the psychological’ during World War I: shellshock is recognised by physicians and the military, but is also regarded as a form of cowardice, as ‘slackerism’. It forms the beginning of a laborious relationship between the tough military ideal and the fragility of insanity. The exhibition explores the focus on and dealing with mental grief in several conflicts of the past century.
From shellshock to posttraumatic stress syndrome, from a strictly military context to attention to the deep traumas in everyday life, from 1914 to 2014: ‘War and trauma’ shows a moving but laborious history of mental traumas caused by extreme circumstances on the basis of documentaries, personal documents, medical objects, works of art, and more." (...)

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