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Entrancing new installation at Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Pannu work

The Dance of Time by Panu Ollikainen

Bethlem Museum if the Mind is pleased to be displaying the installation The Dance of Time by Panu Ollikainen, as part of its Passions of Richard Dadd exhibition, from Wednesday 29 September to Saturday 27 November 2021. Ollikainen has not previously exhibited in the United Kingdom; Bethlem Museum’s Director first saw The Dance of Time on a visit to Lapinlahti Hospital’s Mental Museum in Helsinki in January 2020.

The Director writes: “The Dance of Time had an immediate impact on me when I encountered it within the walls of Helsinki’s historic psychiatric hospital, now a community arts, advocacy and wellbeing centre, The artist has placed the graceful movement and leisurely but unceasing pace of the installation’s tiny wire figures under the control of a series of timepieces. Like a puppet on a string, each figurine ascends, descends and revolves in a looping pattern that is unique, but not of its own making. The silhouettes they cast either exaggerate or question their significance as individuals and as a community.

“A person’s experience of time (linear – forwards or backwards? – or circular), exercise of agency (free or constrained) and perception of significance (purposeful or directionless) is subject to a range of external, framing factors. These factors usually go un-noticed until they are subject to change. A period of residence in a mental health facility, or in any hospital, might have the potential to alter the experience of time, agency and significance. So might the imposition of lockdown in response to a pandemic; or a hundred other things.

Ollikainen’s installation is an invitation to contemplate the finitude of self, and the boundlessness of eternity. We are delighted that it will feature in the closing two months of The Passions of Richard Dadd Revisited.”

The Dance of Time is on display at Bethlem Museum of the Mind thanks to the kind support of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (TAIKE).