The Passions of Richard Dadd Revisited
For artist Richard Dadd, the passions were not merely emotions, preoccupations or hobbies. They were the instincts that drove behaviour, kept in check only by social expectations and the internal moderators of human reason and conscience.
Dadd’s series of sketches on the passions, completed while a secure hospital patient in the 1850s, provides comment on the human condition that is insightful, empathetic and cryptic, all at the same time.
Bethlem Museum of the Mind’s collections are rich in works by artists who, in common with Dadd but not necessarily inspired by him, have represented the passions that motivate us. In this exhibition, each of the Bethlem passion pictures has been paired with a work which opens up another perspective on Dadd’s chosen subjects.
From now until 27 November, thanks to the kind support of the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (TAIKE), the exhibition features Panu Ollikainen’s The Dance of Time alongside Richard Dadd’s Sketch to Illustrate Insignificance. In this mesmerising installation, tiny figures run, pirouette, or are dragged around on their hands and feet by the unceasing march of time, as if to highlight the fragility of mortal life, the limits of personal agency and the questions of human significance.
The Rules are in your Head by Marie Breneiss continues on display until 27 November in the Museum’s Boardroom.