”The mental illness exists, but is between parenthesis: in the parenthesis there is the man, the singularity of the person, a person with his rights and the necessity to decline these rights.” (F.Basaglia)
In 1978, in Italy Act 180, supported by Franco Basaglia, sanctioned the progressive transformation of the madhouses in favour of more human, democratic and open structures to assist people with psychiatric diseases. The reorganization of the italian public psychiatric system led, in practice, to a great degree of dishomogeneity in results among the different local structures in our country. The effort of many operators of the public psychiatric system collide with social, cultural and political obstacles as well as with the chronic lack of funds for the public sanitariy system. When I first visited the Psychiatric Hospital “L.Bianchi” of Naples I had the impression that time had stopped twenty years ago and I strongly felt the need to document the situation. There were three hundreds “guests” at that time. The moving process was very slow and difficult. Infact, Psychiatric Hospital “L.Bianchi” was one of the last former madhouses to be closed. The Directicn of the hospital accepted to host me for several weeks and let me work in a certain freedom. I used to spend my days in long corridors and almost empty departments. Most of the “guests” didn’t really care about me, but they got used to my presence. All these persons had at least twenty years of permanence in such an insane environment where they had gradually lost their own identities. Most of them used to spend the time wandering, repeating the same action for hours, sleeping or staring the wall under the effect of a massive psychiatric drugs treatment. After a while, I realized how thin is the line which separates a sane individual from an insane one. I have always tried to use my camera with great discretion in order to respect the dignity of the individual.
Honour Mention “Leica Oskar Barnack Award”, Arles 1999.
Honour Mention “Grand Prix Care du Reportage Humanitaire”, Perpignan 2000.