The Obscene Image
Parisian Hospital Break Room Graffiti
By Gilles Tondini
(Mark Batty Publisher, Hardcover, 9780981960074, 160pp.)
Publication Date: November 16, 2010
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Certain hospitals in Paris contain illustrated phenomena that have remained unseen, by the French and the world at large, until now. In The Obscene Image, photographer Gilles Tondini reveals the frenzied frescos created by doctors and nurses who use hospital break rooms to let off steam and maintain sanity as they work to save lives. In these rooms – known as salles de garde – the rules of decorum observed throughout the rest of the hospital take a leave of absence in the name of relieving stress.
Graphic, sexually charged, saturated with color and lewd references, these images manifest all the frustrations, stresses, highs and lows that medical professionals anywhere must deal with in their quests to keep people healthy. These manic murals provide visually compelling insight into how the medical professionals of 12 hospitals in the greater Paris area try to keep themselves healthy. Along with all of its sexual content, the imagery in The Obscene Image draws from high and low cultures, from the Bible's Last Judgment and chivalric tales to comic book heroes and villains.
Gilles Tondini is a photographer based in France. He previously authored Paris Underground with MBP.