Institut Ramon LLull

The Legacy of Catalan Psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles: At the Crossroads of Anti-authoritarian Politics, Institutional Psychotherapy and the Postwar European Cultural Avantgarde

Universities.  New York, 23/10/2023

Based on years of research about Francesc Tosquelles (1912-1994), a Catalan psychiatrist working in the early 20th-century, Carles Guerra will present a talk on the large scale exhibition he curated on Tosquelles for several European institutions. A new installament of this acclaimed exhibition will open at the American Folk Art Museum next spring in NYC.

As part of this project, Carles Guerra is working to preserve Tosquelles’s library, personal archive and filmography. His talk draws on his experiece as both a curator and scholar working on the centrality of Southern European influences (more precisely, Catalan political innovations in in the domain of civil society) at the source of radical transformations in Postwar France.

Tosquelles was not only a psychiatrist but an intellectual standing at the core of a revolution that proposed institutional analysis as a medical, political and cultural threefold shift in the context of World War II and the Postwar period in France. This experience fed from the innovative clinical, political and institutional transformations in Catalonia just before the Spanish Civil War. Nowadays, Tosquelles is regarded as a key influence on thinkers like Frantz Fanon (who was an intern working with Tosquelles from 1952 through 1953) and Felix Guattari. Poets like Paul Eluard and Tristan Tzara, philosophers like Georges Canguilhem, film critic like Georges Sadoul, filmmakers associated to Cinéma direct like Mario Ruspoli, and many more, took refuge in the Psychiatric Hospital of Saint-Alban during the early forties and through the sixties under Tosquelles’s influence.

Pre-Event Screening 5-6pm: Watching Tosquelles Films

A work in progress by Carles Guerra based on five reels previously assembled by Tosquelles:

Suite en noir - Congrès et voyages (1 and 2), Venezuela 1967 and Mexico 1967 (1 and 2). 2022, 37 minutes.

As a prologue to the lecture on the Catalan psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles (Reus 1912- Granges-sur-Lot, 1994) and his legacy, the screening of Watching Tosquelles Films offers the possibility to see Tosquelles filming with his 8mm Paillard camera that he acquired in 1953. The absence of sound has been filled in with intertitles that provide clues that help us recreate who might be filmed, where and when. These are images that in spite of their muted character reveal the extraordinary network that constituted the bulk of institutional psychotherapy in the French Postwar period, including figures like Frantz Fanon, George Daumézon and Jean Oury.

This composite film has been edited by Carles Guerra out of five reels shot by Tosquelles between 1953 and 1967 and preserved by his son up until very recently. The film is in itself a material to see through and to think along with as part of an ongoing research restoring Tosquelles' influence.

Carles Guerra is the visiting professor at the New York University - NYU's Center of European and Mediterranean Studies from November 8 to 15. Guerra is curator of the exhibit on Catalan innovative psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles that will show at the American Folk Art Museum from April 2024. His research specializes in the dialogue as a practice in the fields of art and visual culture. Last July, the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Pere Almeda, and the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the NYU, Antonio Merlo, signed an agreement to allow for the presence of a Visiting professor for the courses and seminars of the Center of European and Mediterranean Studies to promote Catalan Culture.

The Legacy of Catalan Psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles: At the Crossroads of Anti-authoritarian Politics, Institutional Psychotherapy and the Postwar European Cultural Avantgarde, lecture

Dr. Carles Guerra (Visiting Professor in Catalan Studies, CEMS)

Introduced by Edward Dioguardi (NYU, American Folk Art Museum)

Respondent: Camille Robcis (Columbia University)

November 8, 2023, at 6:30pm

KJCC at NYU, 53 Washington Square, New York

Pre-Event Screening 5:00-6:00pm: Watching Tosquelles Films

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