Art in Addictions | Medical Cultures

In the collective imagination the artist and the drug are united by an unfailing link to the origins of the creative process. Between molecules that carry distortions of reality, produced with sedative or psychostimulant virtues, the description of the effects of drugs remains infinite: only substances to submit to the creative subjectivity of these productive users, those called artists. Is drug use less of a free choice than a constitutional fragility? How do drugs affect the brain, how do they change our perception of the world? What is the limit for switching from drug users to “addicts”? Jean-Pol Tassin, Inserm research director in the field of addiction physiopathology, will present the current theories explaining substance addiction. Antoine Perpère, curator of the exhibition Sous Influences in 2013 in Paris, will explain the artistic approach that led him to collect works by dozens of artists working with and/or on the theme of psychotropic drugs. He will discuss the narco-aesthetic dimension of works chosen among those exhibited during the exhibition.

The Speakers

Jean-Pol Tassin is Director of Research Emeritus at INSERM. He studies the physiological mechanisms underlying addiction and has, in this context, discovered the involvement of serotonin and norepinephrine release in the prefrontal cortex. This work was awarded the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Prize in 2009 and resulted in the publication of a European patent protecting a composition allowing smoking cessation. He has been President of the Scientific Council of the Interministerial Mission to Combat Drugs and Drug Addiction (MILDT) since 2000 and member of the Scientific Council of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon (EMCDDA).

Antoine Perpère is an artist, former head of the Centre specialized in addiction of the Association Charonne, and curator of the exhibition Sous influences at the Maison Rouge in Paris in 2013.

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