The exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« does not try to answer this question, but assumes that a change is possible and searches for adequate methods of implementation. »L`enfer c`est les autres« is a cooperation between professional artists and adults with mental deficiency.
In most projects with people with mental deficiency the focus and most of the effort is invested in the work with the adults with mental deficiency. The exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« in contrast tries to reach healthy, »normal« people – the majority of society, because these »normal« people are responsible for creating and strengthen the relationship between themselves and the people with mental deficiency, not the latter.
In the past weeks the artists worked together with people with mental deficiency in the Lebenshilfe Leipzig (an organization for people with mental deficiency in Leipzig). Some of them worked in a group of one artist and one person with mental deficiency, some with one artist and a group of mentally disabled persons.
Soon it became clear, that the interaction with mentally disabled people differs from the artists` expectations and that their first concept of work was not realizable.
According to that the exposed artwork emerged from an exchange of both sides where the participating persons got involved with each other.
The artists` concepts are not about improving the skills and dictions of the persons with mental deficiency or making them »better artists«. Instead they try to develop, investigate and reflect new, alternative and reproducible possibilities of interaction with marginalized minorities
Areas of interaction are built, which make sense in a sensual-experiential way, because of their seriousness, which has nothing to do with an ergo therapy.
The professional artists do have a high requirement to the final results, the architecture of the exhibition, the quality of the materials and the contextualisation of the exhibition room.
Furthermore they bring along a tension which is transmitted to the mentally disabled persons in a nonverbal way. Thereby a meaning is built which would not exist if all the participants would just try to disport. At the same time social relationships are built, investigated or strengthened. This is what art is able to do.
The exhibition »L`enfer c`est les autres« is a cooperation with Lebenshilfe Leipzig e.V. It is aided by the Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen and the Kulturamt of Leipzig.
A special thanks goes to Georgiana Buț and the students of the seminar »International PR for cultural institutions« (Institut für Kulturwissenschaften der Universität Leipzig) for the good cooperation and guidance.