Asylum – Humid Light

Asylum -humid light

Pictures of the greenhouse that became a mental hospital.

Asylon -kosteaa valoa
Galleria Gylich Vuojoen kartano, Eurajoki, 2007

The exhibition of ASYLUM -humid light is depicted in the orangery built in the 1840s at the Vuojoki manor in Eurajoki, in the interior of a greenhouse for citrus trees. The municipality of Eurajoki bought the manor less than a hundred years after the construction of the orangery and turned the main building into a nursing home. The orangery, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel (famous Finnish architect), was turned into a nursing home mental hospital and lunatic asylum. When the nursing home moved, the orangery building was left at the mercy of the weather and vandals.

Päivi Setälä photographed the interior of the building in the summer and autumn of 2006. In the summer, green vines climbed the walls and pressed into the windows as if the orangery times had come back. Green doors were visible through the viewing openings of the mental hospital-era doors. In the fall, the moisture filled the space, the paint peeled off as a living surface, and the drops on the walls reflected the exterior landscape.

The Finnish name of the exhibition Asylon means asylum, care for the mentally ill, a place without danger. From the same Greek word, e.g. the French asile d´aliénes mental hospital and the English-language asylym, which today means asylum for refugees. Asylum is a comforting word and in the mind of the photographer it connects to the greenhouse, which is her refuge. At the time of filming, the security and citrus trees in the building were just distant memories.

In addition to the exhibition, the photographs include the publication Asylon -kosteaa valoa / Asylum –humid light / Asile – lumiére humide (2008).