Five hundred photographs documenting life and the environment inside psychiatric hospitalsRead more
This catalogue to the exhibition at the Palazzo Magnani in Reggio Emilia and the Palazzo dei Principi in Correggio contains five hundred photographs documenting life and the environment inside psychiatric hospitals.
There are four sections: the first, Memorie dalla “città dei matti”, consists of photographs taken between the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century of patients and their life inside the San Lazzaro of Reggio Emilia (the large asylum that held up to 2,000 people located in the city’s outskirts), the iconographic photographs of La Salpètrière (1876-1877) held in the asylum library and finally the images that Vasco Ascolini took in the final years of Italian asylums, when many were already empty and abandoned and saturated with the memories of a life of suffering. Also within this section the reader will find some large-scale paintings that are pictorial re-workings of photographs of the faces of patients at San Lazzaro. These works have been created expressly for this occasion by Giovanni Sesia. The second section, I manicomi svelati, comprises photographs taken from 1965 onwards inside a number of Italian asylums. The photographers include people such as Luciano D’Alessandro, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Carla Cerati, Ferdinando Scianna, Gian Butturini, Raymond Depardon, and Uliano Lucas, all of whom contributed in a fundamental way to developing a sensitivity to the problem of exclusion and the conditions of life of people enclosed within asylums. The third section, Al di là delle mura, tra le persone, shows photographs taken after the passing of the Basaglia Law (1978) and the closure of Italian asylums, documenting the often difficult attempts to find alternative solutions to the problem of psychic imbalance, with specific attention directed to the faces of people who lived this condition and their asylums that are now abandoned, in the search for traces of human presence. The photographs in this section are by Uliano Lucas, Enzo Cei, Philippe Tournay, Roberto Salbitani, John Darwell, Giordano Morganti, Marco Fantini, and Ilaria Turba. There are images taken inside the former OPG (the Penitentiary Psychiatric Hospital) of Reggio Emilia, which is now owned by the Province Government. These photos are by Bruno Cattani, Marcello Grassi, Kai-Uwe Schulte-Bunert. The final section, entitled Prigioni e rifugi, nelle terre del mondo and produced in collaboration with Enrica Viganò, presents the work of five photographers (Chien-Chi Chang, Anders Petersen, Alex Majoli, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, and Claudio Edinger) who, in the past fifteen years, have produced reportage in a number of countries (Brazil, Cuba, Greece, Sweden, Taiwan) that documents the inhuman conditions in which many people continue to be held and also the attempts at finding “civil” answers to the problems of mental imbalance. The catalogue contains contributions by the curator Sandro Parmiggiani, and also by Carole Naggar, Cosimo Schinaia, Stefano Mistura, Silvana Turzio, Silvia Pegoraro, Davide Benati, Vittorino Andreoli, Sergio Zavoli, Daniel Sibony, Cesare Secchi, Maria Grazia Pini, Arrigo Tamassia and Verusca Fornaciari; these texts are followed by the works (divided into the above-mentioned four sections) and all technical information. Reggio Emilia, Palazzo Magnani e Correggio, Palazzo dei Principi
12 November 2005 – 22 January 2006The official catalogue is available at the exhibition bookshop and at the Skira bookstore in via Torino 61 in Milan and from Feb 22 2006 in all Italian bookstores.