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34 Oostelijke Handelskade
Amsterdam, NH, 1019 BM

+31 (0)20 2629913

Beautiful Distress was founded on the concept that there is a great deal of mental suffering, that not enough people are aware of this and that not enough is done to stop it.

The Foundation uses art in an attempt to open up the world of psychiatry and battle the stigma attached to it.

Why art? Beautiful Distress believes that art is pre-eminently capable of articulating and depicting the human condition

Mirthe Berentsen

Artist page Mirthe Berentsen

Mirthe Berentsen

Mirthe Berentsen

Mirthe Berentsen

Relation to Beautiful Distress - Our first writer at the residency program is Mirthe Maria Berentsen (Netherlands). Berentsen will participate in the artist in residence program at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn from November 2017 until February 2018. The program is an initiative of Beautiful Distress, a Foundation that uses art in an attempt to open up the world of psychiatry and battle the stigma attached to it. 

About the artist - Berentsen studied comparative literature and linguistics at the University of Amsterdam and the Freie Universität in Berlin and began writing for NRC Handelsblad and Spunk at the age of 18. She worked in publishing in India and the Netherlands and as a cultural policy officer at the Dutch embassy in Berlin. With her background in politics and literature, Berentsen writes about manifestations and tendencies inside and outside society, radical innovators and challengers of the status-quo. Her writing has been published in national and international publications such as: Das Magazin, de Groene Amsterdammer, Die Welt, LEAP, Metropolis M, Modern Painters, NRC Handelsblad, Sleek, Volkskrant, Vrij Nederland, et al.

At Kings County she will work on a novel about language, psychiatry, grief and privacy. "There are several known cases of people in psychiatric hospitals who have such an aversion of the irreversible dominance and determinism of their own language that they refuse to use it any longer. For my narrator language is a catalyzer of their marginalized role in society. As language or visual art is often the only possible escape for a patient with a mental illness to escape their diminished position, even for a while. I’m intrigued by the contemporary ‚elsewhere' and the creation of a world where dreams and other lives are not only imaginary. In the current debate on fake news and redefining truth this is incredibly intriguing and present”.

further information about Mirthe Berentsen
Mirthe Berentsen
Profiel Raad voor Cultuur

about the residency

press and articles