Wednesday, 4 April 2018


Colossal curates a rather poignant and personal autobiographical artefact in the form of the embroidered jacket of seamstress Agnes Richter, who was institutionalised at the behest of her father and brothers in the University of Heidelberg’s (previously) psychiatric clinic in 1893 after suffering a series of delusional episodes.
Life in asylums at the time being highly regimented and patients were expected to produce apparel and accessories as well as other daily chores, Richter used her talents to piece together a linen jacket and embellished it with a colourful and tangled palimpsest of reflections that have only been in part deciphered. “I wish to read.” “I plunge headlong into disaster…” Richter’s jacket, an outlet and a testimony, became part of the endowment of outsider art (Art brut oder rohe Kunst) of the University with the acquisition of the Prinzhorn Sammelung—hidden in the attics of the university buildings for safe-keeping during the Nazi regime so that the collection was not confiscated and destroyed as degenerate art. Today the jacket is on display with many other pieces in the University’s main Assembly Hall (Aula).