Autism. Art awakens the soul. 60 works by 18 artists affected by autism exhibit their artistic self through abstraction and imagination. Sponsored by Associazione Autismo Firenze, Immaginar.io, and Amici del Museo Ermitage Italia, with the support of Intesa Sanpaolo the show can be checked-out at Gallerie d’Italia, Milan piazza Scala museum. (Testo Italiano qui)
The works of these artists are a rare mean to bridge a connection with subjects it’s usually tough to get in touch with.
«Just as a light spectrum from an optical prism, autism takes on different characteristics according to the person’s “position” along the spectrum of disorder symptoms […] the one element that all those who are on the Autistic Spectrum have in common is the existence of severe alterations in three areas: social interactions, communication, and behaviour.» (Giuseppe Maurizio Arduino)
The areas quoted by Dr. Arduino, relate to functional skills, which are the skills necessary for daily living and for establishing a quality of life.
A way to make wants and needs known through language, pictures, signs, etc., including how to say “NO”; choosing a preferred item or activity; knowing what to do to keep oneself safe in a dangerous situation, such as in an accident, or in case of a fire, or when encountering a stranger; taking care of toileting, bathing, and other health and hygiene issues; relaxation and having fun; vocational skills – work skills (excerpts from CAR Autism Roadmap).
When an individual is unable to perform these skills by him/herself, he/she will be dependent on someone else. These skills are crucial and can be immediately related to the individual’s environment.
«These alterations are associated with a cognitive functioning which […] has some common traits. One of these traits […] has been defined as “visual thinking”. Such way of thinking manifests itself through an ability to pay attention, elaborate, understand and memorize visual stimuli much better (at times in exceptional ways) than verbal and language stimuli. […] This is a way of thinking based on images, where even the most abstract of concepts is understood only through a visual “translation”. One aspect of visual thinking is the ability to grasp details much better compared to other people.
«This type of functioning helps us to understand why figurative art, which is the ultimate form of visual art, represents such a significant means of expression for people with autism.» (Giuseppe Maurizio Arduino, from the exhibition catalog by Polistampa).
Originated by an idea of the director of the Hermitage, Mikail Piotrovski in Saint Petersburg, curated by Cristina Bucci, L’Arte Risveglia l’Anima declares from its title the importance for subjects affected by autistic disorders to express their feelings via a different language than words: Art in its range of variations can represent this medium. Originated in Florence in April 2017, the show has now gotten to its fifth location, after Pistoia, Rome, and Brixia.
L’Arte Risveglia l’Anima
A show by artists affected by autistic disorders
March 30th through June 3rd, 2018
Gallerie d’Italia – Milano, Piazza Scala