The idea of ART-ECO-WELLNESS™ was conceived by the cross-pollination and team work of three minds: artist/photographer/philosopher Silvio Wolf, neurologist/ psychoanalyst/educator Inna Rozentsvit, and curator/art historian Rebecca Pristoop.

  • Wolf and Pristoop began their work together when the artist was commissioned by Pristoop to create a site-specific installation for New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary.
  • Wolf and Rozentsvit began their work together when they collaborated during neuro-psychoeducational workshops (on Beholder’s Share, by Inna Rozentsvit) and academic visual art teaching projects (on Seeing as Thinking, by Silvio Wolf).

Each of the founding ART-ECO-WELLNESS™ team members brings something very unique to the team, which aims to ignite one’s imagination; teach people to navigate their visual, sensory, and emotional perceptions without being overwhelmed; appreciate mindfulness in the world full of reactive behaviours; and help everyone in need to find the healing powers within, while connecting to the outside world with trust and compassion.

Artist Statement

«What is the place? The road. Home. The heart».

Martin Buber

I envision a site-specific installation as the transformation of the given space into a participatory place of awareness, meditation and healing: an organic expression amid the everyday activities of our life.

My public-art works are physically and symbolically materialised in the same location as their conception; the artwork and the place, the imagery and the architecture are one: imbuing environments with renewed significance where each person can find his/her resonance. The generative energy of my work invites all who find themselves in its presence to experience a personal moment of pause and insight. I wish to convey a new perception of spaces that ordinarily escape passersby attention, stimulating a different vision and existential value of sites often devoted to mere functional purposes.

I believe that wherever life takes us, and we happen to be because of the circumstances, choices and occurrences of our daily wanderings, is where art is best experienced, where our inner processes and physical places of the world become inseparably linked.

Silvio Wolf

Scientific Statement

What are the roots of ART-ECO-WELLNESS™?

According to psychogeography, “geographical environment, consciously organized or not, [affects] emotions and behavior of individuals” (Debord, 1955). The geo-spaces (which we rarely pay attention to) change how we perceive the world, as our world can feel constrictive and not allowing for play and imagination, or otherwise (Hart, 2004). While Albert Einstein said once, “Imagination is power. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution” we still treat “unrealistic” imagination as secondary to “cognitive” logic…, until we observe such psycho-visual phenomena as Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows or Silvio Wolf’s site-specific installation art. Then, imagination that percolates in a culture of wellness and applied in public spaces (e.g., Hadassah Hospital for Chagall’s works and Jewish Theological Seminary for Wolf’s works) can promote peace, mindful living, and feeling of freedom of introspection in a public space, transforming any traditional place into a space for communal wellness, without taking a long trip to Palm Village monastic communities in France or Germany (Radosevich, 2016).

So, why the site-specific installation?

If one would start to explore the roots of this psychogeography phenomenon, he/she would stumble upon the concept of mindfulness, which came to Western societies from the proponents of Buddhist philosophies (Wallace & Shapiro, 1996). Vast body of research shows that mindfulness, an attribute of consciousness that promotes self-awareness, self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states, offers great personal and societal benefits of more effective work and physical and psychological well-being (Holmes et al., 2014; Malinowski, 2013; Khoury et al., 2015) – all proven by neuroscience research (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Farb et al., 2007; Rock, 2009; Tang et al., 2015; van der Velden & Roepstorff, 2015).

Mindfulness has positive impact on health (Grossman et al., 2004), and can be included in stress reduction based therapies (Khoury et al., 2013), clinical interventions, as it showed to decline in anxiety, other mood disturbances, and stress (Toneatto & Nguyen, 2007) in chronic diseases (Bohlmeijer at el., 2010; Merkes, 2010; Simpson & Mapel, 2011), cancer (Brown & Ryan, 2003), depression (Piet & Hougaard, 2011), ADHD (Zylowska et al., 2008), eating disorders (Kristeller & Wolever, 2011), as well as other conditions that do not have a good treatment strategy, like fibromyalgia (Schmidt et al., 2011) and bodily distress syndrome (BDS) (Fjorback, 2012).

Any site-specific installation can also serve as a resource for preventive care, cultivating inner peace and relieving stress, a source of most somatic, psychosomatic, and mental health disorders (Fjorback, 2012; Kuyken et al., 2008; Sapolsky, 1994). This shared public space can help also to cultivate the culture-first  of wellness and self-care (Kyei et al, 2007), a sort of Communal Wellness Eco-system which cannot be “installed” in any effective way by resolutions, memos, and laws, but which promote well-being in healthy people and in patients and their families (Boyce, 2012; DOH, 2004 & 2006).

REFERENCES for the ART-ECO-WELLNESS™ CONCEPT:

  • Bohlmeijer, E., Prenger, R., Taal, E., &Cuijpers, P. (2010).The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy on mental health of adults with a chronic medical disease: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68(6), 539-544.
  • Boyce, C. (2012). Taking a culture-first mentality with workplace wellness. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/06/taking-a-culture-first-mentality-with-workplace-wellness/
  • Brown, K.W., & Ryan, R.M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848.
  • Debord, G-E.(1955). Introduction to a critique of urban geography. Les LévresNues, #6.
  • Farb, N., Segal, Z.V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., Fatima, Z., Anderson, A.K. (2007). Mindfulness meditation reveals distinct neural modes of self-reference. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2(4), 313-322.
  • Fjorback, L.O. (2012). Mindfulness and bodily distress. Danish Medical Journal, 59(11), B4547.
  • Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., &Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits.A meta-analysis.Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57(1), 35-43.
  • Hart, J. (July/August 2004). A new way of walking. Utne Reader.
  • Holmes, E. M., Craske, M. G. & Graybiel, A. M. (2014).A call for mental health science. Nature, 511, 287–289.
  • Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., Chapleau, M.A., Paquin, K., & Hoffman, S.G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 763-771.
  • Khoury, B., Sharma, M., Rush, S.E., & Fournier, C. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78(6), 519-528.
  • Kristeller, J. L., &Wolever, R. Q. (2011). Mindfulness-based eating awareness training for treating binge eating disorder: the conceptual foundation. Eating Disorders, 19, 49–61.
  • Kuyken, W., Byford, S., Taylor, R. S., Watkins, E., Holden, E., White, K., et al. (2008).Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 966–978.
  • Kyei, G., Oakeshott, P., Kerry, S., Conroy, R., &Doshi, R. (2007).Supporting self-care in general practice.British Journal of General Practice, 57(545), 995-996.
  • Luders, E., Kurth, F., Mayer, E. A., Toga, A. W., Narr, K. L., &  Gaser, C. (2012). The unique brain anatomy of meditation practitioners: alterations in cortical gyrification. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00034
  • Lutz, A., Brefczynski-Lewis, J., Johnstone, T., and Davidson, R. J. (2008). Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise. PLoS ONE 3, e1897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001897
  • Malinowski, P. (2013).Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation.Frontiers of Neuroscience. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2013.00008
  • Merkes, M. (2010).Mindfulness-based stress reduction for people with chronic diseases.Austrian Journal of Primary Health, 16(3), 200-210.
  • Piet, J., & Hougaard, E. (2011). The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major depressive disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1032–1040.
  • Radosevich, M. (2016).9 of best places to practice mindfulness and meditation. Retrieved from: http://marciaradosevichkarma.com/9-best-places-practice-mindfulness-meditation/
  • Rock, D. (2009).The neuroscience of mindfulness. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/200910/the-neuroscience-mindfulness
  • Sapolsky, R.M. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers: The acclaimed guide to stress, stress-related diseases and coping. New York, NY: Holt Paperbacks.
  • Schmidt, S., Grossman, P., Schwarzer, B., Jena, S., Naumann, J., &Walach, H. (2011).Treating fibromyalgia with mindfulness-based stress reduction: results from a 3-armed randomized controlled trial. Pain, 152(2), 361-369.
  • Simpson, J., &Mapel, T. (2011). An investigation into the health benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for people living with a range of chronic physical illnesses in New Zealand. New Zeeland Medical Journal, 124(1338), 68-75.
  • Tang, Y.Y., Hölzel, B.K., Posner, M.I.(2015).The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Review, Neuroscience, 16(4), 213-225.
  • Toneatto, T., & Nguyen, L. (2007).Does mindfulness meditation improve anxiety and mood symptoms? A review of the controlled research. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 52(4), 260-266.
  • van der Velden, A.M., & Roepstorff, A. (2015). Neural mechanisms of mindfulness meditation: bridging clinical and neuroscience investigations. Nature Review, Neuroscience, 7, 439.
  • Wallace, B. A., & Shapiro, S. (2006). Mental balance and well-being: Building bridges between Buddhism and Western psychology. American Psychology, 61, 690–701.
  • Zylowska, L., Ackerman, D. L., Yang, M. H., Futrell, J. L., Horton, N. L., Hale, T. S., et al. (2008). Mindfulness meditation training in adults and adolescents with ADHD: A feasibility study. Journal of AttentionDisorders, 11, 737-746.

Curatorial Statement

Art has the power to transform. Whether it hangs in an office, adorns a city street lamp, or welcomes visitors into the grand hall of a museum, it is there to make an impact. The power of Art Eco-Wellness is that it is specifically curated to transform space into a place of renewal while supporting the values, goals and needs of the commissioning body.

A site-specific placement with Art Eco-Wellness takes into consideration environmental factors like architecture and light, along with conceptual ideas like mission and history so that anyone that encounters it has the opportunity to pause, consider, and reflect. These are the experiences I had when first seeing art and they are still the experiences that motivate me to curate. It is my hope that the installations, exhibitions, and programs I facilitate with Art Eco-Wellness engage all senses and have a positive impact on those that enter into them.

Inna Rozentsvit

M.D., PhD – is a psychoanalytically trained neurologist and neurorehabilitation specialist

Silvio Wolf

Photo-based and installation artist, Faculty at IED in Milan and SVA in New York.

Rebecca Pristoop

New York based curator and art historian and Director of Programs, Art Connects New York.