Present Perfect-Santa Maria della Pietà 1914-2014
Project info

Santa Maria della Pietà opened in 1914 as the largest psychiatric institution in Europe. After a very complex and controversial history and following a new legislation on mental instituions, it was officially closed in 1999. But today some of its sections are still in use, while others have been neglected for many years. 2014 marked its 100th anniversary and the local administration seems finally willing to rethink the use and destination of these structures. Although it is still quite difficult to get access and capture any kind of visual material, the photographer Gianluca De Simone and I decided to try and document both the abandoned structures and the pavilions still used for rehab and support. We started documenting this complex situation, matching our contrasting styles with the intention of provoking a short-circuit in perceptions and offering a deeper impression of a place with such a difficult history and striving towards a different future.
Eventually we produced a series that alternates Gianluca's black and white portraits of the current patients and my images of neglected architectures.
The project was selected and exhibited at Fotografia - International Photography Festival of Rome and at Naked City Festival in Rome.
Gianluca's photos can be found in her Lens Culture profile at:
https://www.lensculture.com/gianluca-de-simone