Asylum.

Photographs by Dag Alveng. Introduction by Susan Kismaric.
Koks Forlag, Oslo, English and Nor, 1986. In Norway. 60 pp., 26 tritone plates, 11x13".

These photographs of the interior of a mental institution in Norway send steely chills down the spine. Rather than addressing the patients, photographer 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 duotone 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.

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