The ninth edition of Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia, who opened at the beginning of May 2014 revolves around a main subject: “Seeing. An infinite gaze”, the act from which photography was born.
Several exhibitions display heterogeneous artists, coming from different experiences and periods, from the beginning of the photography era until contemporary times, but who found in “gaze” a common point of work. We start from the beginning of the Twentieth Century with an exhibition curated by Harri Kalha, where there are about 300 postcards representing fantastical leisure, passion or fashion scenes, by using a premature way of photomontage.
The crayon tones emphasize the surrender of a dreamlike surreal atmosphere that shows a spellbound and endless gaze, not only on the representation of the “real”, but also on the possibilities of the photographic medium.
It is impossible not to find a chromatic assonance with the poetic series of photos displayed in the Festival’s main exhibition, the great retrospective devoted to the Emilian master Luigi Ghirri. The same exhibition was organized last year at the MAXXI, curated by Francesca Fabiani, MAXXI’s supervisor of the photography department and by Laura Gasparini, the Library’s Panizzi (Reggio Emilia) Fototeca supervisor. It is in this library that Luigi Ghirri’s archive is conserved and it is from here that the greatest part of the works displayed in the Festival comes from. The library, provided of a digitalized online catalogue, is acquitting to the role of “archive-museum”, of the works of contemporary artists who participated to last editions of Fotografia Europea, purchased then by the Comune di Reggio, and exposed in its spaces in a small retrospective of the collection.
The other great pole of interest of this ninth edition is, without doubt, the project HOST lead with Magnum Photos, who curated different events, among which three days of masterclass with professional photographers. The main “guest” of this collaboration is obviously the retrospective consecrated to Herbert List, curated by Peer-Olaf Richter and presented for the first time in Reggio Emilia.
The one hundred photos displayed in the exhibition, whose black and white is in clean contrast with the sweet colors of Ghirri’s pictures, show the typical versatility of the German photographer and the infinity of a gaze who he never stopped to try and find, and investigate the real, beyond its most disparate aspects.
We also have to mention Sarah Moon’s exhibition and the “Alphabet” of Claudio Parmiggiani, another Emilian artist, who displays a series of works realized in collaboration with Luigi Ghirri, in a sort of apology of Emilian art.
Following the great success of the Festival, the closing of most of the exhibitions has been deferred for over one month, giving the possibility to the “late comers” to let themselves be transported in this endless experience of gaze up to the 27th of July 2014.
This post is also available in: Italian