Morire di classe – Carla Cerati and Gianni Berengo Gardin


Il Saggiatore, 2024
Softcover, 18×26 cm
88 pages, b/w photographs
Italian text

In stock

The asylum condition photographed by Carla Cerati and Gianni Berengo Gardin

Morire di classe (1969) had long been unavailable in bookshops. We have decided to republish it now, in its entirety, so that it can testify to new generations what the condition of the mentally ill was like before the revolution of Franco Basaglia, Franca Ongaro Basaglia and all the women and men who worked with them to unhinge that system. This collective work marked an epoch-making turning point in mental health management and led to the passing of Law 180. (Alberta Basaglia, Luca Formenton)

Published by Einaudi in 1969, ‘Morire di classe’ is an exceptional work. Criticising through unequivocal images the conditions in Italian psychiatric hospitals at the time, it was an important factor in Franco Basaglia’s battle to have those institutions closed. From an editorial point of view, it presented itself for the first time as a design object (inspired by the advertising graphics of the time), which was at the same time a photographic, political and sociological book; a book to look at – or look away from – as much as to read. In the black-and-white shots by Carla Cerati and Gianni Berengo Gardin – two of Italy’s most important photographers – walls, doors, keys, bodies, mattresses, trees, straitjackets, living gazes into imprisoned bodies alternate and are interspersed with texts, selected by Basaglia himself and taken from works by Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Primo Levi, Jonathan Swift, Rainer Maria Rilke and Peter Weiss. By denouncing the situation and calling on institutions to take an interest in the recovery and not the annihilation of the excluded, the book also raises an ethical question. May the boundaries never be crossed between revelation and exploitation, between compassion and prurient excitement while immortalising a mentally ill person.

Weight 1 kg


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