Asylum. Photographs by Dag Alveng. Introduction by Susan Kismaric. Designed by Per Maning. Koks Forlag/Preeus Fotomuseum, Oslo/Holly Solomon Gallery, NY. 1986. 59 pp. Large quarto (12.75 x 11.25 in./32.5 x 28.5 cm.) Second issue*. Clothbound. 26 Tritone reproductions from half-tone negatives by Richard Benson. Text in English and Norwegian.
*Edition Note: First issued with cream colored cloth, tipped-on cover photo and fragile vellum dust jacket; for his 1993 show at Holly Solomon (his first in the U.S., an unknown number of subsequent copies were bound in blue-grey cloth with printed title and issued without dust jacket.
"In Asylum, Alveng has made a powerful and expressive photobook that provokes a disquieting reflection on the kinds of institutions where society hides away its 'problem people'".--Parr & Badger
These photographs of the interior of a mental institution in Norway send steely chills down the spine. Rather than addressing the patients, Dag Alveng captures the essence of the sterile and frightening environment itself. Here are drawers revealing serrated knives and gougers, groups of restraining suspenders hanging in a tiled room, urinals and stools, rubber boots, and chairs with restraining straps. Even the Christmas decorations evoke a sad strangeness. A powerful book, beautifully rendered in tritone with halftone negatives by Richard Benson. The introduction, in English and Norwegian, is by Susan Kismaric, a curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Fine- small areas of very faint discoloration to upper extremities.