Thursday, September 29, 2011

FOTOGRAFIA Festival 2011

The tenth edition of the FOTOGRAFIA Festival in Rome is currently underway, and the offer this year is quite rich and interesting, as the screenshots below suggest.

From the widely reported Alec Soth's commissioned work about the city of Rome (see here or here) to an excellent group show about Italian photographers, to go on with 3/3 and their focus on Japan, or Rob Hornstra's New Dutch Storytellers, well there's plenty to see and I dare to say that more than any past edition this year the festival feels like a serious attempt to look into what is moving today, in Italy and abroad, in what we try to contain under the term contemporary photography. Rather than flattening the selection of artists over prefabricated formulas, this time the challenge is much more for the viewers to find their own way thrugh what it might at first look contradictory, but in the end it's just rich and promising diversity.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stage photography

Annelies de Mey photographs scenes that look like theatre stages from obscure plays we are about to watch, gorgeous palladium prints showing mysterious places where the distinction between outdoors or indoors lose any relevance, and everything looks as if it has been just revealed to us by the opening of a heavy velvet curtain.

Her most recent work is Codex2010 (for more info go the 'Editions' section in the website of the Galerie Jan Dhaese), a book about the Brussels Palace of Justice where she takes the viewer through a fascinating journey across the solemn halls, the marble stairs and the hidden corners of the Brussels courthouse - such a vast labyirinth that Wikipedia describes the palace as bigger than St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

(Read an interesting interview with the artist here)

All images © Annelies de Mey


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"A state of silence"

History sometimes can be perceived as too big to be confined within the space of a photograph, as Lithuanian artist Indre Serpytyte shows with her work on the memories fron the Cold War in her native region. 

When no image can convey the scale of what happened, then maybe the best choice is to focus on small details: a military hat, some small models of houses or images of dark shelters under tall trees become the only way to remember the loss of somebody we loved, the cruelties perpetrated by the authorities and the resistance carried on by many.

All images © Indre Serpytyte


Monday, September 19, 2011

Portfolio Appreciation

Stefano Parrini, Land Market

I really enjoy doing portfolio reviews, there is something special in the constant challenge of finding something interesting to say about a series of images (and in front of the person who made them, and who often payed some money to listen to yours and other peoples' opinion), no matter how unfinished sometimes they might look, or maybe simply wrong. I think it is something you owe the person sitting with you there - often on opposite sides of a table - to say things that can actually help them improve their work: no matter how much you feel that particular portfolio or not, you have to find a way to connect with it and imagine what could be its best potential.

This year I had another chance to do portfolio reviews at Savignano Immagini Festival, and I wanted to share with you a few really interesting works circulating from table to table:

Stefano Parrini, Land Market

- Land Market is a series of elaborate scenes set in natural spaces by Stefano Parrini, turning beautiful landscapes into a sort of Land Art aimed at criticising our consumerist culture, even though everything blends so perfectly in some images that it rather feels like we are simply watching scenes from another planet, where maybe trolleys wander around freely and balloons can grow on trees.

Michela Pandolfi, Who. Where.

- Michela Pandolfi has shown me the beginning of a really interesting and complicated project, Who. Where. , in which she restages scenes of photographs by famous artists using actors, but placing them digitally inside the background of the original photograph grabbed from the internet. She patiently merges the actors shot separately in a studio with the file of the original photo using Photoshop, I would imagine at the cost of hours and hours of painful work. The she jumps on a plane to reach an exhibition of the artist somewhere and photographs her images in front of the original art. So far the 'victim' has been Erwin Olaf, and the effect is halfway between a serious metalinguistic effort and a genuine laugh at the glossy investigation of human nature in Olaf's work, where top models in angst are supposed to enlighten us about the dark side of our soul. Seeing normal people with normal faces taking their place in those fancy compositions is definitely a way to make some justice and bring those images down to earth.

Michela Pandolfi, Who. Where.

Giorgio Di Noto, City n. 0

- Giorgio Di Noto is not really a discovery, as I happen to know very well the young man and we have been working together in the past, but seeing the jury giving him an award for his work City n. 0 on the peripheral suburbs of Rome was another confirmation of how well his photography is getting together - I really wish I could have made those photographs when I was 21-year-old myself, back in the day...

Giorgio Di Noto, City n. 0


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mobile report #3 - SiFest 2011

For the third year in a row, I come back from the Savignano Immagini Festival (aka SiFest) with my eyes (and my ears) full of photography, of thoughts about photography, of faces from the world of photography. The 20th edition has been up to the task of celebrating such an important anniversary, and I will share some impressions with you through some posts on this blog. First a little photographic report from some of the exhibitions, then over the next few days we'll move to some really interesting photographers I discovered during last weekend, as well some new and some familiar names who received awards from the festival.

Guido Guidi, Carlo Scarpa's Tomba Brion

Massimo Mastrorillo, Temporary? Landscapes

Simon Roberts, Una Storia Italiana

Sin_tesis lab #03, Unstable landscapes, a workshop with Simon Roberts

Bas Princen, Refuse: Five Cities

Henk Wildschut, Shelter

Frank Breuer, Poles

Roderick Henderson, Transvoid

Marco Zanta, Tripoli talks, unfinished work

Michael Wolf, Tokyo Compression

Miroslav Tichy, Retrospettiva

Rob Hornstra/Arnold Van Bruggen, Empty Land, Promised Land, Forbidden Land


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SiFest 2011

Savignano Immagini Festival is back for its 20th edition from September 9 to September 11. A few highlights from what is in store this year, offering an excellent group of exhibitions by contemporary photographers:

- Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion, by Guido Guidi
- Tokyo Compression, by Michael Wolf
- Empty land, promised land, forbidden land, by Rob Hornstra / Arnold Van Bruggen,
- Roads and Paths, by Bernhard Fuchs
- Global Photography, with works by Marco Zanta, Bas Princen, Henk Wildschut, Alexander Gronsky and more
- Una Storia italiana, by Simon Roberts

Full exhibition schedule here.

Lectures, portfolio reviews, wokshops, projections and much more are scheduled throughout the three days, as usual. I will be around for the whole weekend, looking forward to meet those of you who will be there!