Exceeding Crisis. The Psychic Life of Drawings

“Uprooted” series, Ramzi Harrabi, Siracusa, Italy.


Since 2015, an unprecedented number of people from Middle Eastern and African countries have crossed borders into and within Europe. Media and political actors describe this time as an “emergency” and a “crisis” that challenges the core of European values and human rights principles. Calling this a crisis implies responding to it, on the one hand, with humanitarian gestures of saving lives, and, on the other, with stricter border control. I reflect on the grammar of crisis and the forms of care that it simultaneously enables and disables. I am inspired by the relationship between two painters—from Tunisia and Nigeria—and their forms of therapeutic and ethical explorations through art. I propose to attend to practices that bear witness to other grammars, or the lack thereof. These practices are the expression of a denial, or, better, of an interruption in the language of the crisis and pathology.