Lisson Gallery

Pedro Reyes: The Spirit of Utopia

4 July 2013

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes invites visitors to enter a Sanatorium offering therapy for the urban dweller. A highlight of dOCUMENTA 13, his utopian clinic is manned by therapists who can guide us through a sequence of rooms and objects, dedicated to ‘Sociatry’, the science of art and healing society.

SANATORIUM is a transient clinic which provides short, unexpected therapies. The only way to experience this project is to sign up as a patient.

SANATORIUM starts with an interview where you are diagnosed and then appointed to experience at least 3 of 16 available therapies.

SANATORIUM therapies are variations or mash ups of existing schools such as Gestalt psychology, theater warm-up exercises, fluxus events, conflict resolution techniques, trust-building games, corporate coaching, psychodrama, and hypnosis.

SANATORIUM is a delivery system of placebos. In the same way as a Brechtian play, to be aware of the set up doesn't prevents it from doing the trick. For a skeptical mindset magic has to be deprived of its aura.

SANATORIUM offers a secular space for psychological processes that can be found in religion or shamanism. When you sign in you sign a release form warning you that this is not real therapy nor real therapist. You decide to believe. Suspension of belief has to maintain, eventually you decide to believe, to tell yourself a story.

SANATORIUM works with each individual's own narratives.

SANATORIUM is a democratization of therapy, a 'psychological first aid'. The sessions are conducted by non-professionals. It taps into the excess capacity that we have to help others.

Whitechapel Exhibition page
Pedro Reyes: The Spirit of Utopia
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