The Club – September 2016

Portraits, Inclusion, Autism, and a Social Club

  • How can I communicate with people who are limited in their communication?
  • How can I include a group of such people in a highly communicative framework on an equal footing?

In Daniel Eisenhut’s inclusion art project from 2016, he addressed the topic of autism:
“With the project “the Club” I can – if only with pictures – create a social framework where everyone has an equal say, regardless of whether they have autism or not,” said the artist.

After cross-border inclusion art projects with Syrian and Swiss children and with LGBT people in Belarus, in 2016 Eisenhut tested his limits again by portraying people with and without autism and thus creating through art a “social club” in the tradition like the Lions, Rotarians, or created by the Round Table.

M. Huber, a man with autism, said about the project:
“Daniel Eisenhut’s project invites you to a round table in such a way that people with autism also recognize and experience themselves as desirable.”

The project was developed with the close support of Autismus Deutsche Schweiz and the Round Table Zürich as well as JCI Zürich and Zürichsee (Young Swiss Chamber of Commerce).

Personal motivation
Inclusion, I didn’t know the word for a long time, it was introduced to me by one of the first models that I portrayed for this project.
His name; is Mathias, he is a consultant at a Bern cantonal office, around 50 and autistic. In my everyday life between meetings, networking, dating ect. I hardly meet people like Matthias, let alone talk to them and deal with their everyday life.
The more I delve into this project, the more I understand the impact it has on me personally and on all participants.
We see one another, we perceive one another.
Art makes it possible to create things that don’t actually exist. It also gives me the freedom to look where I would otherwise not look and keeps asking me questions that I can only answer with works of art. With this project, even if only in a spiritual sense, a meeting between two worlds is made possible, and thus spaces for expanded consciousness are made possible for all involved. Just an inclusion.

The presentation of the Project took place at the Jedlitschka Gallery in in Zurich, October 2016.

The Club – Portraits

Tesetmonial of Mattiahs Hueber

“The Artist Daniel Eisenhut drew my attention to the fact that he is a member of the Zurich Round Table and would like to bring people with and without autism together around a round table in his art project, without it being regulated in any way as to who invites whom.
The idea that everyone can invite everyone, that no barriers or borders need to be defined by definitions of normal and handicapped, or are even obsolete, appealed to me.
The fact that a number of men with autism have already had their portraits taken for this project shows how much is possible.
People with autism are rarely invited by other people.
Because they often cannot show mimic, gestural, or verbal expressions that they are interested in their fellow human beings, it is wrongly assumed that they have no need for social contact.
In addition, the everyday world is only inviting on its own terms. Specifically: “You are invited if you say something, if you have an opinion, if you laugh if you show that you like us…”
With his project, Daniel Eisenhut invites you to a round table in such a way that people with autism also recognize and experience themselves as desirable.
If people without autism find out that autistic people are also part of it, sooner or later the prevailing, somewhat one-sided view of the autistic person will be changed.
In the “age of inclusion”, this art project is not only exciting but also of great importance in my opinion.

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Matthias Huber, board member, diagnosed Asperger-Autismus