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The Heong Gallery, Downing College, CB2 1DQ Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
What does art do? How does it affect our brains, thoughts, feelings and wellbeing? What do we want from art? Do we want it to provide us with beauty, challenge our views, or maybe even change the way we live our lives? When we look at art there is an immediate impact on our 'hot' cognition or emotional and social thinking. Then our 'cold' or non-emotional and reflective thinking takes over and we may search for meaning in the art, by trying to interpret the image, realise the artist's intention, or even intellectually engage with and become part of the artistic process. In this discussion, we will consider the psychological and social aspects of art and how art can enhance us as individuals by providing us with intense emotional experiences which help us to continue to grow through-out our lives, but also to connect at a deeper level with others.
The exhibition DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE? curated by Dr Elisa Schaar provides us with a unique opportunity to immerse our brains in 'hot' and cold' thinking while we sense, feel and extract the holistic conversation sent to us by outstanding artists through their art.
Prof. Barbara Sahakian is based at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She has an international reputation in the fields of neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, neuroimaging, psychopharmacology and neuroethics. Her research is on cognition, emotion, motivation and their interaction. She has published over 450 articles in scientific journals, including Nature, Science and The Lancet. She has co-authored two popular science books, 'Bad Moves' and 'Sex, Lies & Brain Scans' (both Oxford University Press). For this latter book, she won the British Psychological Society Popular Book Prize 2017.
Dr Elisa Schaar is an art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on the relation between art and its broader social and political contexts and particular interests in art since the 1960s. Her research has been supported by a Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford, where she is a Visiting Tutor in art history and theory. Her articles have appeared in journals including Art History and American Art and in publications by institutions including the Pinakothek der Moderne, Castelli Gallery and BoldTendencies. She is a contributor of reviews to Artforum magazine.
Event image: Mel Bochner, Do I Have to Draw You a Picture?, 2013. © Mel Bochner, 2018.