bill, betsy, bob and the others - museum guislain - gent (belgium) - 2008

'Bill, Betsy, Bob and the others'  --   A portraits Cabinet of Bart Drost

The Vincent Van GoghInstitute in Venray has teamed with Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent a bookletissued with portraits that Visual artist/therapist Bart Drost made of clientswho were included in the clinic for Neuro psychiatry. The portraits are 'reconstructions of encounters with patients'. They seem to hear togetherdespite all their horrors. And they seem crazy: If you knew any better youwould think they were drawn by a patient. A patient with real talent, though,and those are rare. The portraits are all different, all black gray but with colorfulattributes that make them exciting. Almost nobody looks cheerful. One tail offor the gaze is directed inward. There are big eyes of fear. It was therefore forBart a statement every time to get us our creative. I remember of the visits tothe creative therapy: Bart who you always cheerfully gave a hand, the cabinetswith materials, the load with large sheets of thin paper which I often not moreknew to draw than a male who climbed a mountain, and the round table wherethe most sat. Lies* who painted figurines with precision, Henk faithful coloring hisMandalas, Anja who could learn a little to paint with watercolor and constantlyyeld for Barts aide, and Bart who constantly came on with ideas and materials when someonethreatened to get bogged down and the head lowered again or did polar bears inthe studio or began to cry ...

 There issomething wrong with these portraits. I have spent almost five months in the clinicfor Neuropsychiatry and I don't recognize anybody. And I have also not heard oneand never met something crazy silly. There were depressed women, as that womanwith that dead Bird on her head. (There is a popular booklet on depression withthe title "I see each death bird ', but so it even can be worse.) The breastsat the women of Bart hang a little bit, but when they are alone, the apples ofOrange and radiates the handsome woman. And then there's the negress who paintswith the mouth: the brushes where the colors are almost splash around.I've unfortunately never met her. You are looking for similarities and I can notfind them. Only Bart has seen them. Yet these portraits tell  more about the patients than therich words in diagnoses that they take home and will be in the files that accompany them whenthey carried away. Of course they are scared, sad, desperate, or 'just'. Orsometimes they hear voices.

I'm alreadymore than a year away from Venray and don't want to think about it too much, butthis particular booklet I store ? after all I've torn apart ? as good reminder.And, they say, that I am also in itself: that male with that glasses and thatseparation that death for themselves, looking to the extreme. On page 16. MaybeI am though. Now again I can laugh a little. It was still a good time at Bart,if you had been but not that sick.

E.S.              * The names are fictitious.

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Bart Drost

free artist

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen
The Netherlands