The Devil's Pool' 2014 (1:03" clip)

Cecily Brennan is an Irish artist. This site includes selected exhibitions of works in video, sound, painting and sculpture made between 2001 and 2015. She lives and works in Dublin.

Brennan's new documentary film 'The Devil's Pool' Madness, melancholia and the artist, premiered at JDIFF 2014.

Is there a connection between creativity and madness? Does being creative involve a risk of madness or is madness a prerequisite for creativity?

'The Devil's Pool' addresses the long-held public belief in a connection between madness and artistic creativity. The film combines a dramatised section with interviews with artists, researchers and academics. These interwoven strands contrast the chaos and torment of mental collapse with the careful rationality of psychiatric research and the views of working artists.

Over the course of the documentary the film-maker compares the intellectual and measured observations of the experts, their words controlled and thought through, with a description of the descent into chaos and madness of a young artist ending in overwhelming depression and stasis.

The interviewees include Dr Simon Kyaga from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Professor Patricia Waugh of Durham University, the playwright Frank McGuiness and the poet Paul Muldoon.

Does society need to see its artists as outsiders?

Running time: 30 minutes

All films, images and texts copyright © 2015 Cecily Brennan