The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness by Matt Ottley

Fri Sep 09 2022 at 09:00 am to 05:00 pm

State Library of Western Australia | Perth

State Library of Western Australia
Publisher/HostState Library of Western Australia
The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness by Matt Ottley
Fri 9 Sep – Fri 11 Nov 2022
Ground Floor Gallery
FREE exhibition, no tickets required
This exhibition showcases ground-breaking, multi-modal works from acclaimed artist, author, and composer Matt Ottley’s recently published book. Weaving together the worlds of literature, music, and visual art, it tells the story of one boy’s journey into mental illness. The narrative unfolds around the metaphor of a tree growing within the boy whose flower is ecstasy and whose fruit is sadness.
Doctors give him medicine to stop the tree flowering and fruiting, and for a time his life seems ‘normal.’ But the tree continues to grow and eventually becomes too strong for the medicine. His mind, however, is released and he travels to a fantastical world where he is confronted by both the power of his creativity and the destructive force of his emotions.

The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness has been inspired by the experiences of its synesthete creator, Matt Ottley, who has lived with bipolar disorder all his life and been hospitalised on numerous occasions in mental health facilities. Until now he has kept this aspect of his life private.

Designed to immerse, inspire contemplation, and open up a conversation, this exhibit will stir emotions, activate our senses, and leave us with the gift of empathy for the 1 in 200 Australians who suffer from psychosis and 1 in 5 of us who suffer from mental ill-health.
Illustration by Matt Ottley from his book The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

State Library of Western Australia, 25 Francis Street, Perth, Australia

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