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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

Participating artists


In het onderstaande overzicht wordt een korte beschrijving gegeven van de kunstenaars van wie werk is te zien op de twee exposities in respectievelijk De School en Nieuw Dakota.

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participating artists

Laurence Aëgerter, Compositions catalytiques

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2017

Aëgerter gave a guided tour of several paintings in the collection of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht for a group of clients and supervisors from the Altrecht ABC group, a facility that offers ambulatory care for young people with psychotic vulnerabilities. Curious about the participants’ extraordinary powers of imagination, Aëgerter asked them to analyze the form and content of the paintings. With a range of basic materials, the ABC group worked on top of paper reproductions of the paintings. The expressive and uninhibited works by the ABC group prompted Aëgerter to work with the paintings herself. Aëgerter reproduced the photos at their original scale.


Koštana Banović, Onderkomen voor onrustige mannen en vrouwen – Shelter for restless men and women

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2003

To get closer to the experiential world of the institution’s patients and staff, Banović gave them forms with personal questions to fill out. The compiled forms resulted in an artist’s book: Onderkomen voor 19 onrustige mannen en vrouwen en 16 begeleiders – Accommodation for 19 troubled men and women, and 16 companions. Banovic also created the video installation Een stukje hemel – A piece of heaven. “There was a swing in theroom. I asked everyone who came to visit me to have a little go on the swing. Some of them sang; others told stories. One of them sang: “I’m crazy for sure, but not as crazy as the craziest nut who from craziness doesn’t know what he has to do to seem crazier than the craziest nut; he’s ‘too-crazy’, and that’s how crazy I am.” One of the video works from this series can be seen in the parallel exhibition at De School, Jan van Bremenstraat 1, Amsterdam.


Aldo van den Broek, In Your Face VI

Beautiful Distress, 2015

During his residency at Kings County Hospital in NYC, Van den Broek made portraits of patients. Van den Broek’s portraits are distinctive for being painted directly onto found materials, such as medicine packaging or an old pizza carton. He also makes personal video work. With an iPhone 4 he took a selfportrait in which he imagines himself in the shoes of a patient. This work can be seen in the parallel exhibition at De School.

Courtesy of Galerie Ron Mandos

Courtesy of the Fu Ruide Collection, the Netherlands


Rebecca Chamberlain, A Home, Not a Metaphor, The Real Thing

Het Vijfde Seizoen / Beautiful Distress, 2013

Beautiful Distress invited Rebecca Chamberlain together with Guy Richards Smit to work at Het Vijfde Seizoen as trailblazers for the residency in New York. Chamberlain was interested in how light, air, and space influence mental and physical health, as well as healing processes. She asked patients about their favorite spots within the grounds or the treatment units. Here they took photos together with patients that provided the basis for her paintings.


Doris Denekamp & Geert van Mil, Noem me Ismaël – Call me Ishmael

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2014

from the book, with infrared photos of buildings within the institution’s precincts on either side.


Enrico Garzaro, Camera Obscura

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2017

“We’re all sitting in an individual box, in our own bubble. Its dimensions vary: in some you are sitting on your own, in another you are sitting with your surroundings, the madhouse around the corner, the city and the country where you live. All these spaces have boundaries, limitations, but also shows us the differences, so that we can start a discussion about what we see.” – Enrico Garzaro, photography student, Gerrit Rietveld Academy In early 2017, a group of photography students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam worked at the residency. Garzaro, one of the students, made a life-size camera obscura of wood: a lens projects the outside world upside down onto a plane of projection in the box. The exterior is covered with mirrors. The work is about how we look at ourselves and the outside world in different ways.


Olivia Glebbeek & Evelien Krijl, Een ongestoord gesprek – An undisturbed conversation

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2006

Glebbeek and Krijl set out in search of a universal language. Fascinated by the lessons in social skills at the various departments of the psychiatric institution, during their residency the artists focused on communication. They devised ten basic recipes for “contact” and printed them on T-shirts.


Voebe de Gruyter, Het Theehuis, de Vloeivelden, de Houthakplek en de Tuin – The Teahouse, the Water Meadows, the Wood-chopping Area, and the Garden

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2015

De Gruyter produced drawings of historical places within the precincts using electromagnetic-resistant paint. These buildings and places were originally intended for the well-being of the patients. She connected the drawings with an electric socket using a grounding wire, which diverts the electromagnetic radiation and leaves an energetic void, thus creating a poetic space for interpretation and projection.


Ingmar Heytze, De Atlas van Wanen – The Atlas of Delusions

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2011

During his residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen, the poet Ingmar Heytze composed the collection De Atlas van Wanen – The Atlas of Delusions collection. In a series of poems he describes the inner world of people with mental illness and the caverns of the soul.


Mella Jaarsma & Yudi Tajudin, Schaduw – Shadow

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2010

Mella Jaarsma and Yudi Ahmad Tajudin pursued a project about the significance of shadow while at Het Vijfde Seizoen. They photographed and painted shadows of the residents, who told them what shadow meant to them. In Indonesia, where the two artists live, the word shadow means “image” or “illusion” and has an important cultural significance. During their residency at the pavilion they “captured” the shadows of the residents.


Yasmijn Karhof, Reality is a fingerprint

Beautiful Distress, 2016

During her residency, Karhof took part in activities and discussions with patients every day. From each encounter with patients she distilled a remarkable sentence. Karhof then asked the staff of Kings County Hospital in New York to pose with the signs that she made in response to the texts she collected. Here the staff, who were photographed on the hospital’s courtyard, are depicted on a wall hanging that was produced in the Textile Lab of the Textile Museum in Tilburg. The weaving refers to the occupational therapy activities at Kings County Hospital, where they often work with textiles. With special thanks to: Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, TextielLab/Textielmuseum


Fransje Killaars, Rookgordijn – Smoke screen

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 1999

Killaars was fascinated by the tobacco addiction of many patients and staff. She asked the various units to collect their cigarette butts. She used them to make a large curtain with the patients as a collective work of art. For Killaars it is a symbol of the small degree of freedom enjoyed by the residents: a moment for yourself that can be inherent in smoking a cigarette.


Jean Bernard Koeman, Apparaten die dienen om te antwoorden op vragen waarvan we niet weten wat we er mee aan moeten – Devices designed to give answers to questions we can’t deal with

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2006

Together with patients, Koeman amassed the content for a large wall drawing with the title: Apparate die dienen om te antwoorden op vragen waarvan we niet weten wat we er mee aan moeten Devices to give answers to questions we can’t deal with. Koeman formulated a vital question with patients for each letter of the alphabet.


Frank Koolen, Z.T. (Paviljoen) / Untitled (Pavilion)

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2012

Over the initial weeks of his residency in Den Dolder, Koolen built an ‘Olympic Karaoke Pavilion’, fully equipped with a karaoke set and a large-format flatscreen TV. The pop-up Pavilion served as an open stage for the institution’s patients and staff. Under the supervision of various (music) therapists, they performed covers of nostalgic classics and tested out new repertoire. Throughout the summer, the Olympic Karaoke Pavilion accommodated live performances, spontaneous encounters, weird conversations, and Olympian examples of karaoke. Koolen shot photographs of the surroundings and a few of the performances. The work Z.T. (Paviljoen)

– Untitled (Pavilion) – is an iconic portrayal of an invisible musician.


Anouk Kruithof, Lang Zal Ze Leven – Happy Birthday to You

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2011

For the work Lang Zal Ze Leven – Happy Birthday to You – Kruithof celebrated the birthdays of 10 patients from various units. She interviewed them about the meaning of their birthdays and asked them what their wishes were. Their psychiatric limitations meant that the answers were often surprising and unabashed. Kruithof asked every patient about his or her favorite color and the person celebrating a birthday received a cake decorated with a photographic portrait. She did this deliberately, because cutting into and eating “your own face” always prompts a sense of relaxation and spurs a moment of laughter. Underlying this project was Kruithof ’s childhood memories of visits she made with her mother to her grandma, who was a long-term patient in a psychiatric institution.


Annaleen Louwes, Black and white and (some) kind of blue or I only want to be happy

Beautiful Distress, 2014

Annaleen Louwes was not only a guest at Het Vijfde Seizoen in 2003, but also the first Dutch artist to undertake the Beautiful Distress residency at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Louwes describes her residency in New York: “I was the odd one out, in every regard. Photography means something different to these people than it does to me. The idea of art they are familiar with at the institution is chiefly in the form of creative therapy, while I use photography to investigate something. It also turned out that the majority of the patients were from the poor African and Latin American community in the vicinity. I was a white outsider and an intruder. What did I have to do to avoid making the stigma even greater by photographing them? That was a real tussle and it took me a while before I could start to shape my work.” Louwes created studies of the institution’s residents. She is fascinated by how human beings survive under all kinds of circumstances, and the impact this has on his or her body language.


Dirk van Lieshout, Tea Bike

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2016

Van Lieshout investigated the tradition of drinking tea and the social interaction that is associated with it. For three months, the Het Vijfde Seizoen live/work studio served as a laboratory where Van Lieshout’s self-brewed birch bark tea was very popular among patients and local residents. He worked on a “tea bike” with patients. He oversaw the construction of a vehicle for 10 people that is reminiscent of a beer bike for tourists. Expeditions around the institution’s grounds were held each week and recorded on video.


Erik van Lieshout, Boom-car

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2001

For Erik van Lieshout it was an unusual experience to be back in a psychiatric institution where he had worked as an activities supervisor. He thought it was too quiet in the grounds and decided to build a “boom-car.” He bought an old car, dismantled the bodywork, and affixed a pair of huge loudspeakers to the roof. He drove around the institution’s grounds with hip-hop music blaring from the speakers. Patients jumped onto the vehicle and drove around with him. Van Lieshout created a remake of the boom-car for Beautiful Distress.


Lotte van Lieshout, De Zee en Vampier – The Sea and Vampire

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2010

Van Lieshout’s paintings are a concrete translation of the stories of the patients who she met during her residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen. During long walks with the patients, they told Van Lieshout about their psychotic delusions. Van Lieshout took walks with the resident Volkert, and thus gained a peek into his world of experience, then painted the scenes in hallucinatory colors in imagined compositions. Volkert himself appears as a protagonist, sometimes dressed in outfits that matched his stories.


Jikke van Loon, Dolderse Vechters – Dolder’s Fighters

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2008

Jikke van Loon wanted to draw “to mess up my obsessive urge for order and regularity.” Van Loon

asked several youngsters to pose for her. In that direct confrontation she produced realistic, largerthan- life sketches of the young men in tough but simultaneously vulnerable poses. She called this series of charcoal drawings Dolderse Vechters (Jimmy, Wesley, Robin) – Dolder’s Fighters (Jimmy, Wesley, Robin). She also produced a series of portraits of people from the long-stay unit: Dolderse Koppen (getiteld: Mw Muller en Bruun) – Dolder’s Heads (title: Ms Mullen and Bruun).


Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy, Safaripark – Safari Park

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2015

Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy investigated the vestiges of the renowned history of the “Dennendal” affair that played out at the Willem Arntsz Hoeve in Den Dolder in the 1970s. At the time, the psychologist Carel Muller and the architect Frans van Klingeren wanted to break through the isolation of the institution’s residents by opening up the grounds to other residents and activities.They called this “dilution.”

When the artists asked patients to offer suggestions and imagine activities that could be realized here, prompted by a questionnaire from 1971, one of the patients came up the idea for a safari park. He expressively described how fantastic it would be if giraffes, bears and elephants were to wander amidst the buildings in the grounds of the psychiatric institution. This is a photo of the set of the film that Domenico Mangano & Marieke van Rooy produced during their residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen. Courtesy of the artists and Magazzino


Marijn Ottenhof, Staging Anxiety

Beautiful Distress, 2017

Ottenhof shot videos of social situations that arose during the residency at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NYC. He re-staged these situations. All the scenes are associated with human reactions to fear and trauma. Actors play a scene: some of them are aware of the intention; others are not. This causes confusion about what the situation actually entails. Is this a birthday party or a group therapy session? With special thanks to: Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and Stichting Stokroos


Alet Pilon, It’s me

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2011

“My project is about the ‘outside’, because everyone in psychiatry is preoccupied with the ‘inside’,” Pilon explains. “By the outside I mean the clothes someone wears.” What does clothing do to you? Does wearing different garments change you? Do you have favorite garments and why do you like to wear them? Pilon organized the most beautiful outfit that 10 patients had specified: from a regal gown and wedding dress to an army uniform. The clothing was paraded on a catwalk at Het Vijfde Seizoen. Following on from the fashion show, the people had their portraits taken, in association with a stylist, make-up artist, and photographer.


Guy Richards Smit, NY Times on Psychiatry

Het Vijfde Seizoen / Beautiful Distress, 2013

Beautiful Distress invited Guy Richards Smit to work together with Rebecca Chamberlain in Het Vijfde Seizoen as trailblazers for the residency in New York. Richards Smit produced an enlarged version of The New York Times. The topics for the newspaper arose from his numerous conversations with patients. This fictitious edition about psychiatry gives a personal impression of life in a clinic.


Mario Rizzi, untitled, from They tell me I am sick, but I function good

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 1998

The Italian artist Mario Rizzi was one of the first artists to reside at Het Vijfde Seizoen in 1998. To

facilitate communication with the institution’s residents he gave patients disposable cameras and asked them to photograph the surroundings. It was a direct means of showing what they felt was important and formed a new language to communicate with the “outside world.” The photos shown here are a selection from the book of photos compiled by Rizzi: They tell me I am sick, but I function good.

Courtesy of Mario Rizzi


Roosbeef (Roos Rebergen), Hersens / Brains and In het bos / In the Woods/Forest

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2009

The Dutch pop band Roosbeef worked on their second CD at The Fifth Season. Front woman and the band’s namesake Roos Rebergen wrote several new texts for this album. As the texts by Roos are strongly influenced by her surroundings, Het Vijfde Seizoen was an intriguing source of inspiration.

Roosbeef organized a concert in the grounds to round off their residency at Den Dolder.


Berend Strik, Jeltje

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2001

Berend Strik’s project at Het Vijfde Seizoen involved research into architecture for people in long-term care. He developed proposals for buildings that perfectly suit the individual needs of the patients and could also play a role in the development of architecture.

Strik asked various patients to describe their ideal home and looked into their current living conditions. Someone wanted a stimulus-free space in his house and a kind of mosquito net of dense fabric around the bed to create a sense of safety. Someone else drew inspiration from the architecture of the Taj Mahal. In Stik’s vision, the homes for people with psychological conditions must be supportive and thus be able to provide a solid foundation for living.

Between 1999 and 2003, Stik collaborated with One Architecture to design a house for American twins who suffer from the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, which is accompanied by involuntary tics and compulsive behavior. They developed the House of Hearts, which provides space for the manifestations associated with the syndrome. The house consists of two compartments, so the sisters could continue living together but at the same time have their own private spaces.


Aram Tanis, Mental Objects

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2017

Tanis pursued a project about obsessive compulsive disorders, an issue he had experienced from close by with a family member in his youth. It inspired him to investigate the meaning of this disorder. He used photos and texts to sketch out his ideas from the perspective of the parent as well as the child. And he reveals the impact of this disorder. Here in the exhibition you can see photos and a selection of texts from the publication Parallel Lives, which Tanis produced during his residency.


Annemiek Vera, Z.T. / Untitled

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2007

Annemiek Vera produced a series of paintings based on historical photos of patients from the collection of Meijer, a psychiatrist who in the early 20th century took photos of his patients as study material. Vera painted these black-and-white photos in a large format and in color. With this transformation she gives the stigmatized person “a new identity and a different raison d’être.”


Lisette Verkerk, Heaven Hell

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2006

One of the people Verkerk met had scratched the words “Heaven” and “Hell” on his arm. This was what prompted Verkerk to develop a project about self-mutilation. Verkerk gained the confidence of several patients and was allowed to photograph them. These Polaroids and texts are intimate accounts of selfharm and isolation.


Roy Villevoye, Kerven – Carving

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 1999

Since the early 1990s, Roy Villevoye has frequently stayed with a group from the Papuan region of Asmat, people who are hunters and gatherers as well as highly praised woodcutters who live in the extensive mangrove forests of Indonesian Papua. Within their magical knowledge system he, all trees have a soul and are inhabited by spirits and ancestors. When Roy’s daughter Céline turned one, his friend Omomá carved her name into tree that was important to him. This mark would continue to grow with that tree in parallel with her life. It was a mark of friendship and solidarity. When Villevoye stayed at Het Vijfde Seizoen he experienced those surroundings as a particular culture that lives in a forest. But this forest, once planted by the first generation of patients, showed no signs of human presence. Inspired by Omomá’s death, he asked a number of patients to carve personal marks into trees in the woods around the grounds. For many patients this was a boundary-breaking act and a positive experience. On the project’s completion there were some therapists from the Friends of Amelisweerd (a pressure group that was active in the 1980s and opposed the wholesale felling of trees on the Amelisweerd country estate near Utrecht for the sake of realizing a freeway across it) who protested against Villevoye’s project. They were convinced that trees would be so severely damaged that they would not survive. Because of the commotion the protest brought with it and the petition that the activists began, the Willem Arntsz Hoeve’s management team decided to cut down all the trees on which patients had left their “tags.” Here you can see documentation of the project, the petition, and several maps drawn by patients that indicate the path from their units to “their” trees. With the felling of the trees, the first edition of the publication was revised as well.

©Roy Villevoye / Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam


Marisca Voskamp, Gedeelde Ademtocht – Shared Expiration

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2007

Voskamp worked on her artistic contribution to Het Vijfde Seizoen in total silence for a year. She

wanted to make a positive contribution to the perception of psychiatry. Voskamp wanted to make the the engine of life visible. She therefore gathered breath from all the units, from patients as well as staff, asking them to expire into small plastic bags. All the bags were tied together into a large cloud, called Ademtocht – Expiration.

For Beautiful Distress, Voskamp revisited the unit where she had worked in 2007 and asked one of the therapists to blow another cloud together with the patients. This work, Gedeelde Ademtocht Shared Expiration is presented here.


Jantine Wijnja, Reisgids Den Dolder / Den Dolder Travel Guide

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2014

Wijnja produced a guide about a psychiatric institution: Reisgids Den Dolder / Den Dolder Travel Guide.

The guide is based entirely on the words of the institution’s residents, whose experience of life in a clinic is key. In collaboration with dancers from Random Collision, the publication has been given an extra dimension in Augmented Reality. Reisgids Den Dolder was designed by Hansje van Halem. Here Wijnja showcases a selection from the publication.


Aimée Zito Lema, Things I know from silence, things I know by heart

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2011

During her residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen, Zito Lema investigated the influence of memories and learning processes on the formation of identity. The point of departure was conversations with patients about memories and sound recordings of various group therapy sessions. The investigation resulted in collages and a series of short films in which footage of the surroundings – architecture andnature – converge with the memories and experiences of patients. The collages were originally  displayed in a spatial installation. All the components of this installation were made with patients from the institution.

Things I know from silence, things I know by heart was devised and realized in association with Nahuel Blaton

Courtesy of Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam / the artist


Marieke Zwart, Vellen – Sheets of Paper

Het Vijfde Seizoen, 2016

The use of paper in the realm of psychiatry refers to the many reports, accounts and memoranda that patients depend on. Together with the Willem Arnstz Hoeve’s waste-paper collection service, Zwart amassed medical documents, folders, and books. The patients then experimented in a craftsman-like manner with this psychiatric paper world. The tearing and pulping of waste paper resulted in “new” paper.