Monika Chabicovsky

Photographer
  
Hôtel-Dieu ... an Interim Home
Location: Paris, France
Nationality: Austrian
Biography: Born in Austria, Monika Chabicovsky graduated in toxicology and regulatory aspects of pharmaceutical industry. She built her initial professional career on cancer research and founded a consulting company supporting biotech and pharma companies... read on
Public Story
Hôtel-Dieu ... an Interim Home
Credits: monika chabicovsky
Updated: 05/03/20
Location: Paris, France
Archived as: 
Interim Home - Hôtel-Dieu de Paris
Hôtel-Dieu de Paris is the worldwide oldest, still operating hospital, originally built in the 7th and 17th centuries. When I first visited the psychiatric department of Hôtel-Dieu, I found myself in an atmosphere reminding me more of a prison than a hospital, where mentally ill patients shall recover. The place attracted and repelled me at the same time and I went back again and again. No one ever asked me anything. Sometimes I found myself face to face with patients. But I had misgivings about photographing them – because it would have added distance. On the contrary, I have tried to put myself in their lifes, their feelings, and I started taking photographs very quietly. Over time, I felt more and more trapped by the architecture, the atmosphere, the quietness – any noise and any light beam counted. Fences and locked spaces, forming cages, were everywhere – some in real, some symbolic. I felt dominated by this architecture and atmosphere. Only the many windows seemed like escapes.
I went home every evening. But patients are trapped in this mysterious place, which seems challenging for patients - hope they see the many windows among the cages and fences.
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