Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Louis Wain's disorder and his fractal patterns

Louis Wain's cats

This is work of Louis Wain, who lived between 1860 and 1939, and is frequently held up as an example of the progression of schizophrenia, and the effects of the disorder on the perceptions of an artist.
But as you can read here, Wain may instead have been suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, because his skill as a draughtsman remained plain to see throughout his illness.
The similarities of his late paintings to fractals is striking. Fractal patterns that we are familiar with today were not produced until the 1970s. There would appear to have been something about Wain’s condition that allowed him to perceive and represent these invisible natural patterns long before anyone else had seen them.

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