On July 17, 2016, art appreciators from around Beijing met at the We+ Coworking space in 798 to experience “Bipolar,” a collective art exhibition exploring the expression of opposing natures. Sponsored by The French Lab, the event featured work by many excellent local artists such as Laurent Hou, Filippo Cardella, Anthony Ragucci and Nate Rood, and was described by the curators as a, “psychotic show that explores differences, potentiality and limits of professionalism and naïveté to break the tight boundaries where art has been secluded.”
In keeping with the spirit of the event, CandleX was invited to give a short talk to those in attendance, to inform and educate on the real nature of bi-polar disorder as a mental illness. Marco Brun del Re was enlisted to serve as representative, and was presented with the mission to first share with his audience the experience of his own personal story with bi-polar, and then use this to describe the attributes of creativity and intelligence commonly associated with the disorder, while finally emphasizing the importance of empathy and compassion towards the bi-polar/depressive community. In doing so, Marco was able to conclude by illustrating the nature of CandleX’s mission statement: to increase awareness and knowledge of depression and bi-polar disorder, reduce social stigma, and provide social support for those afflicted.
Marco Brun del Re at the bipolar exhibition
There were roughly 200 attendees at the exhibition and around 70 were there for the talk, and they had free roam of the space for the rest of the evening. Despite the poor acoustics of the room and the difficulty hearing for most of the audience, the presentation was well attended, and was even described by one listener as resembling a “TED talk.” It was Marco’s first attempt at public speaking, and the talk was well received. We hope at least for some of the listeners, a new perspective was shed on the relationship between art and life.
It was the first time Candlex had engaged a representative to spread awareness on depression. Marco engaged the audience with his sincerity and openness that has always had an impact on people. Like we believe, you don’t always know who is listening, but you might have made a difference. This will be an on-going effort to engage more inspiring members to advocate for mental health, to empower others whose voice is still blocked by fear and shame.
You can also find Marco’s personal story in CandleX’s column: My Story with Depression.