ABANDONED GOODS

Written by:

Pia Borg & Edward Lawrenson

Directed by:

Pia Borg & Edward Lawrenson

Produced by:

Kate Ogborn & Lisa Marie Russo

Abandoned Goods is currently showing as part of the Wellcome Trust’s exhibition Bedlam: the asylum and beyond.

Abandoned Goods is a short essay film about the extraordinary collection of artworks created by patients detained in Netherne psychiatric hospital between 1946 and 1981. The artworks were created in a pioneering art studio in the hospital run by the artist Edward Adamson. Today around 5,500 pieces survive, assembled together as the Adamson Collection, one of the major bodies of British ‘asylum art’. The film is narrated by an unseen cataloguer, voiced by Iain Sinclair, who comments on key works in the Collection and provides glimpses into the lives of their creators. Blending archive, reconstruction, 35mm rostrum photography, interviews and observational footage, the film explores the transformation of the objects in the Adamson Collection, from clinical material to revered art objects, examining the lives of the creators and the changing contexts in which the objects were produced and displayed, to provide a moving impression of the unseen history of postwar asylum life in the UK.

Abandoned Goods was made with the help of Dr David O’Flynn and the Adamson Collection Trust and the support of the Wellcome Trust and the Maudsley Charity.

Abandoned Goods was awarded the Golden Pardino for the Best International Short Film in the Leopards of Tomorrow Competition at Locarno Film Festival. To date it has also screened at the Hamptons, London BFI Film Festival, Sundance, True/False, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Oberhausen, Festival Internacional de Cine De Huesca, Janela Internacional de Cinema Festival, Bucharest Experimental Film Festival, First Fortnight Film Festival, DocAviv, San Francisco Documentary Film Festival and Busan International Short Film Festival.

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Abandoned Goods

A deceptively concentrated film - that’s as much about renewing and recontextualising the creations…as it is about art’s psychological, emotional and finally social consequences.”


Michael Pattison, Fandor

Truly took my breath away...Outsider Art fans need to track down this short film at all costs.


Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, Fandor

What could be a television-style art-doc becomes a deep, cinematic journey because the filmmakers know how to use forms to communicate something more profound than just the fact that the art exists


Robert Greene, Sight & Sound

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