THE MAZE / WILLIAM KURELEK (1927-1977)

 

William Kurelek’s autobiographical painting The Maze was painted in 1953, when he was 26 years old and a patient at Bethlem’s sister hospital The Maudsley. The left hand section contains scenes from his past and present life forming a maze in which a white rat (representing himself) is trapped at the centre.

'The subject, seen as a whole, is of a man (representing me) lying on a barren plain before a wheatfield, with his head split open. The point of view is from the top of his head.

The subject is then roughly divided into the left hand side of the picture, [with] the thoughts made in his head represented as a maze; and the right hand side, the view of the rest of his body. The hands and feet are seen through the eyes, nose and mouth, tapering off into the distance and the outside world.'

William Kurelek’s work can be seen by visiting the Bethlem Museum of the Mind. 

museumofthemind.org.uk