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An emotional drug: an art exhibition in the hospital to support the work of doctors and nurses

An emotional drug: an art exhibition in the hospital to support the work of doctors and nurses
A detail of the staging of Carlo Gloria's work at the DIRMEI in Turin
03 Feb 21

Works of art exhibited at hospitals and health facilities to support medical staff and help to contrast the professional burnout of operators. Art may be capable of relieving, even for a few moments, that emotional stress to which doctors, nurses and health staff are subject daily, and particularly in recent months.

After the experience of "Un Quadro al Mese" (literally: "A Painting A Month), a project set up at the Covid Hospital OGR in Turin thanks to the partnership between Banca Patrimoni Sella &C. and the Local Health Authority of Turin, on February 1st the small exhibition hall of the D.I.R.M.E.I. Infectious Diseases and Emergencies Department was set up to exhibit 19 works by the Turin artist Carlo Gloria, created on the walls of Palazzo Bricherasio, headquarters of the Sella group bank, as a single "mural fresco" where they remained until September 2020.

"Prenditi Cura di te Stesso, Prenditi Cura Degli Altri". ("Take care of yourself, take care of others"). With this spirit, Carlo Gloria transformed the "Vado e Vengo" mural into 19 autonomous artworks. The original installation was born as a reflection on the space-time interactions between the places and the people who patronise them, with their soul and identity. 

The Vado e Vengo exhibition thus joins the OPER project. At a time when human interactions are necessarily limited and access to "collective" places is limited or inhibited, this reflection becomes even more topical and takes on new meanings. The group of women and men who was walking close together almost holding hands in Carlo Gloria's mural are now separated and distanced, but tenaciously still linked by a silent dialogue and ready to carry a message of rebirth and reunion. The exhibition "ARTE. Farmaco emozionale", ("Art: an emotional drug") curated by Daniela Magnetti, was achieved thanks to the partnership between the Turin Local Health Authority and the Artistic Direction of Banca Patrimoni Sella eC. This is not a publicly open cycle of exhibitions but a display of a few carefully selected works, visible only by the staff who has access to the D.I.R.M.E.I.

Recent experiences, such as "Un quadro al mese", a project set up at the Covid Hospital OGR, have highlighted their effectiveness. Art that, in its various and articulated displays has accompanied man since the beginning, stills remains a profound need of the human spirit. Art is a way to express and communicate emotions and to overcome the limits of time: its need becomes more strong in extreme situations. The project conceived for the Infectious Diseases and Emergencies Department is an "emotional drug" made with magical shapes and skilful chromatic blends, to be used in case of need, capable of vibrating the strings of our sensitivity and enriching our vocabulary with words that go beyond the professional context and prove to be effective in their relationship through emotions.

Daily glances of those who work in the treatment centre, captured by the fruit of the artist's silent work: Art. The suffix OPER returns as a leitmotif and is powerfully declined in each of the terms with which it is connected. The "drug" acts by releasing its charge of emotions from the walls on which the works are set up.

As it was the case for the "Un Quadro al Giorno" project, the works come from the collections of foundations or archives which, free of charge, have made themselves available to realize this project as well. They are hardly visible works, if not when they are loaned in temporary exhibitions, and for this reason, the symbolic value of their exhibition, "only for you, who takes care of us", is even more profound. 

Displayed as if they were in a museum room, with captions and short accompanying texts, the paintings become the subject of a didactic activity, that is carried out at each exhibition with the staff of the Department.

The artistic direction of Banca Patrimoni Sella &C. hopes that the recovery of Arts in healthcare become a shared behaviour that starts from a premise: art can be a powerful tool for improvement in care. The OPER-ART. Farmaco Emozionale project is in line with the cycle of the next European programming that looks at crossovers, or rather at the systematic and systemic interactions between Culture and Health indicated by the Europe 2030 Culture Agenda.

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