Friday, October 15, 2010

DAVID MAISEL | LIBRARY OF DUST - British Journal of Photography review

David Maisel is the latest photographer to join Institute for Artist Management.

Best known for his environmentally concerned aerial images – nominated for the Prix Pictet in 2008 and published in three books by Nazraeli Press over the last six years – the San Francisco-based photographer joins the agency, set up last year by former VII Photo director Frank Evers, alongside Nadav Kander, Jodi Bieber, Simon Norfolk and Zed Nelson.

Maisel’s last major project, Library of Dust, is a departure from his usual work, focusing on the multicolour pigments sprouting from the copper urns he found and photographed in a mental institution. They contained the unclaimed cremated remains of former patients, which had been left to rot in an underground vault.

He is currently working on History’s Shadow, a series of re-photographed x-rays of art objects from antiquity he began during a residency at the Getty Research Institute in 2007.

Max Houghton wrote about the Library of Dust, published as a book by Chronicle, in BJP in October 2008:
"Maisel's act of photographing these canned corpses reanimates the dead, allowing the observer to linger with them in a strange extraterritorial place, though the transformation is but temporary. Those who died here are still without name or face, but their passing has been attentively and assiduously marked. In another twist to this already strange and ghostly tale, in 1975 Oregon State Hospital became the screen location for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The 1975 film of Ken Kesey's book, filmed by Milos Forman, mobilised liberal America into questioning the accepted diagnoses of madness and caused a seachange in the way society treats the insane."

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