Het Vijfde Seizoen

Mario Rizzi

Fall 1998

The Italian artist and photographer Mario Rizzi worked on a photo project in collaboration with patients from the closed Roosenburg ward. He gave them disposable cameras. When they photographed their interests and desires, they discovered a new and different language for communicating with the outside world. In conjunction with an exhibition of their work, a photo book was published, 'They tell me I am sick, but I function good'.

This publication is the result of a project made by photographer Mario Rizzi during his three months’ stay among TBS patients (TBS = detention in a hospital) in the Roosenburg psychiatric ward. As an artist-in-residence at Het Vijfde Seizoen, located close to the Roosenburg ward, Rizzi got to know the patients and supplied all of those willing to take part with a disposable camera. There was no brief and everyone could photograph whatever  took their fancy. The project’s freedom is maintained in this publication. Too ‘arty’ presentations are avoided to prevent too much psychological judging by  the reader/viewer. Hardly any living organisms can be seen in the photographs. In glossy full-colour splendor you see corridors, a filled ashtray, a stereo and pots on a stove. These are items that surround us all. The single difference is that the people photographing these items are sentenced to a life in these particular surroundings.. Instead of focusing on any abnormalities, this project focuses on the generic trivialities of life in confinement. The only reminder of the anguish that must surely be a recurring part of a TBS patient’s life is the image of a dead end traffic sign that fills every single left page of the publication. This adds tension to the project, mixing social experiment with an enjoyable photography book.


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