Richard Ansett

Image_2547, Boy#1 © Richard Ansett

 Overall Winner, ArteLaguna Prize, Arsenale di Venezia, Italy, 2013


The project was developed during the personal enquiry into concepts of fracture and healing from the series ‘Hospital Gardens’.

At the point where the project evolution was at the very limits of what seemed possible, I met a boy whose traumatic experience of being bitten by a dog was locked within him. It was a remarkable privilege to record this boys complex and ambiguous emotional state, which led to an exploration of a form of fracture beyond the physical and an introduction to a different mental health charities including a charity supporting families with autistic children.

This project in its literal sense, highlights how misunderstood and repressed the condition of autism is as a form of otherness in society. There is a propensity to stigmatize any deviation from the so-called norm and to pathologise life that does not fit into the narrow confines of socially accepted identity. This is evident not only in regards to such conditions as autism or various physical and psychological illnesses but in Ansett’s practice in general which explores the effects of all non- conformity to a dominant socio-political status quo.

Metaphorically this series explores existential suffering as a spiritual and essential element of the beauty of the human experience. Trauma does not always bear obvious markers – it is a complex phenomenon, which should not be perceived simply in terms of a dysfunction to be ashamed of and shunned. Fragility and trauma are inextricably linked – the former reflects human spirit sensitively attuned to reality, while the latter is both the essential price and reward. While accompanied by pain and hardship, trauma is a powerful agent for growth and a more intricate understanding of our condition as individual beings and beings in society.


Detail from Image_2547, Boy#1 © Richard Ansett 2011

Image_2579, Boy #2 © Richard Ansett 2011

Image_2628, Boy#3 © Richard Ansett 2011

Image_2653, Boy#4 © Richard Ansett 2011


Detail from Image_2653, Boy#4 © Richard Ansett 2011