Friday, July 6, 2012

AUGUSTE DETER - A PORTRAIT OF ALZHEIMER DISEASE

Auguste Deter was 55 years old when she died in 1906 in an institute for mentally ill in Frankfurt. Alois Alzheimer, who had been her doctor there, examined her brain after her death, discovering the typical fibrils, plaques and tangles as well as brain atrophy, that have become to be regarded as the clearest diagnostic sign of Alzheimer's disease. These findings were not new, but for a coincidence of events, the already well-described disease became to be known with the name of Auguste's doctor, and her name will be forever remembered as the first person diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, although this is actually not true: she was merely the youngest.
I find the idea of loosing one's identity and memory the most terrible nightmare that could occur in a person's life. Auguste had found the perfect description for that: "I have lost myself" she said repeatedly. These words and the haunting photograph of her in the year of her death have triggered an image in my head and I had to get it out. I had just got to know the work of the artist Dragan Bibin, so maybe the moths came from that corner of my memory. 

It's a study in charcoal on standard charcoal paper (a bit too rough for my taste, but I have 25 sheet of it, so I should use it somehow). Maybe one day I will make a painting of it. 

4 comments:

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  2. Hi, I work clinical research on Alzheimer's disease. Everyday I am inspired by the participants who volunteer for our studies, who are dedicated to creating hope against Alzheimer's through research.

    I was moved when I saw your beautiful and expressive drawing that so fantastically captures how the disease impacts the individual. Would it be okay if I printed and put it up in my office as inspiration?

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  3. Hallo Meenakshi,
    I am happy and honored that you find my work inspiring. On my main "road" I am a pre-clinical scientist in Drug Discovery, and I also happen to be working on Alzheimer right now.
    Of course you can put a print up in your office!

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  4. Simona!
    I'm proud of you and that piece and the recognition it has gotten! You are such a fantastic artist, and I know you're just as fantastic as a scientist, too! They definitely complement each other.

    That Visible Body app is wonderful! I actually have the very thick book version of it. But I do believe I will download the app version because it will also work with my IPOD Touch 5th generation. It would be great to have it in hand whenever I need it because the thick book can become pretty inconvenient even if available when and where I needed it!

    I cannot wait to be where you are in my artist skills and career! Hats off to you, young lady! And I hope the semester ended just as you hoped it would!

    Your friend from across the pond!
    Renee'

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