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Parisian hospital break room graffiti…


Concealed within several of Paris’ hospitals, strange paintings give testimony to one of France’s most singular subcultures. In The Obscene Image, photographer Gilles Tondini has documented these frenzied frescos, created by medical interns who use hospital break rooms to let off steam and maintain sanity as they work to save lives. The break rooms—known as salles de garde—the interns ignore the rules of decorum observed throughout the rest of the hospital, and create a new order—in the name of maintaining traditions, and, of course, to relieve stress.

Graphic, sexually charged, saturated with color and lewd references, these little known images manifest all the frustrations, stresses, highs, and lows that medical professionals anywhere must deal with in their quests to keep people healthy. The manic murals provide visually compelling insight into how the medical professionals of 12 hospitals around metro Paris struggle to keep their minds healthy and their connection to their peers alive. Along with all of its sexual content, the imagery in The Obscene Image draws from cultures high and low, ancient and modern. Nothing, from the Bible’s Last Judgment and chivalric tales to comic book heroes and villains, is too sacred to be farced.


“L’IMAGE OBSCENE” 2010 by Gilles Tondini


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