IL VOLTO DELLA FOLLIA (The Face of Madness)
An Essay: “Through a Lens, Darkly”

The book contains five hundred photographs documenting life and the environment inside psychiatric hospitals. A historical section 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, a  large asylum that held up to 2,000 people located in the city’s outskirts, the iconographic photographs of La Salpètrière (1876-1877 and  images by Vasco Ascolini of the final years of Italian asylums, when many were already empty and abandoned and saturated with the memories of a life of suffering. The second section, I manicomi svelati, comprises photographs taken from 1965 onwards inside a number of Italian asylums by Luciano D’Alessandro, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Carla Cerati, Ferdinando Scianna, Gian Butturini, Raymond Depardon, and Uliano Lucas. 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. The photographs in this section are by Uliano Lucas, Enzo Cei, Philippe Tournay, Roberto Salbitani, John Darwell, Giordano Morganti, Marco Fantini, Ilaria Turba, Bruno Cattani, Marcello Grassi, Kai-Uwe Schulte-Bunert. The final section, Prigioni e rifugi, nelle terre del mondo and produced in collaboration with Enrica Viganò, presents the work of 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.

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