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David Maisel - Library of Dust (2005-06)

Library of Dust depicts individual copper canisters, each containing the cremated remains of patients from a state-run psychiatric hospital. They have remained unclaimed by their families. The patients died at the hospital between 1883 and the 1970’s.

The (approximately) 3,500 copper canisters are burnished or dull; corrosion blooms wildly from the leaden seams and across the surfaces of many of the cans. The vestiges of paper labels with the names of the dead, the etching of the copper, and the intensely hued colours of the blooming minerals combine to individuate the canisters. Sublimely beautiful, yet disquieting, the enigmatic photographs in Library of Dust are meditations on issues of matter and spirit.

Friday December 14th with 1,107 notes
Filed under: #David Maisel 
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