“Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Italy’s self-portrait at the mirror” a project Museo Novecento Off presents two unmissable exhibitions at Forte di Belvedere: “Pienovuoto” by Massimo Vitali and “Italiae. From Alinari to the masters of contemporary photography ”.
Since 1972 Forte di Belvedere in Florence has hosted solo exhibitions of international contemporary artists, bringing their vision to the city and making it dialogue with the context, with the ramparts, the open spaces and the city below.
For the summer of 2021, Forte di Belvedere focuses on photography with a project with a very evocative and current title: Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Italy’s self-portrait at the mirror, a project of the Museo Novecento born under the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti, director of the museum in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Two large photographic exhibitions set up on the three floors of the Buontalenti building, open to the public from June, 25 to October, 10, 2021.
⇒ Pienovuoto curated by Sergio Risaliti, artistic director of the Museo Novecento, involves the great photographer Massimo Vitali, known throughout the world for his ‘metaphysical’ shots. The photos on display are a portrait of our contemporary society amidst solitudes, multitudes, full spaces, gatherings and empty landscapes, where nature or cities seem to have isolated a few survivors in the midst of grandiose, sublime architecture and landscapes, which still dominate undisputed life.
Massimo Vitali’s work aesthetically draws on the history of art and not only on photography. Italian of origin, Anglo-Saxon by training and with an international vision and attentive to the evolution of avant-garde research at the turn of the last century and the present one, the artist appears as a photographer inclined to leave no traces in his works of moments linked to identifiable historical facts. His world appears as if suspended in a cinematic still image. There are never any details that can be identified with historical or current events, except for the titles which, at times, refer to crowded gatherings or evenings of fun at the disco.
“Massimo Vitali is able to stage an Italy according to completely peculiar points of view – explains Sergio Risaliti, curator of the exhibition – His vision of our Country is a universal theater, now stormed, now at the opposite still represented as a space of extensive measures and solitudes, amidst gatherings and multitudes of crowded beaches and discos filled beyond belief. In contrast to this repertoire there are still uncontaminated spaces, where few presences testify to the power of nature and its domination outside the civilization of consumption and technology. For Vitali, time is not so much relative as it is outside of time: photography does not certify what it was, but what could always be, an eternal present. Life is fixed in terms of metaphysics, and the real is transformed into a mise-en-scène, whose iconic truth seems to be born with the photographic mutation of the content in an absolute and independent form.”
⇒ “Italiae. From Alinari to the masters of contemporary photography” was born from an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, produced by Fratelli Alinari Idea SpA, promoted by the Alinari Foundation for Photography and curated by Rita Scartoni and Luca Criscenti.
An archive of 75 photographers – from Gianni Berengo Gardin to Paolo Pellegrin, from Gabriele Basilico to Gian Paolo Barbieri, from Luigi Ghirri to Mario Giacomelli and Ferdinando Scianna, just to name a few – who have portrayed “Bel Paese” each in their own way and with the their particular interest. A century and a half of history in a composite anthology of shots, to recreate an ideal gallery of portraits and memories, capable of witnessing the richness of the country and at the same time the extraordinary vitality of Italian photography. The selection of shots, without claiming to summarize in its entirety the complexity of Italian photography, in any case poses itself as a challenge, and a means to explore aesthetic choices and languages that have gone through over 160 years of images, including atelier photos, pictorialism, conceptualism, chronicle and artistic research. A journey that begins with the photographs of the Alinari Brothers and from that vast world that around them, in terms of collections and archives represented, has been forming to reach, through the great masters of twentieth century photography, up to the most avant-garde experiments. The result can also be read as a brief summary of the history of photographic techniques that starts from the calotype and reaches virtual photography in games.
The exhibition is divided into three sections – Landscapes, Works, Faces -, each capable of constituting an ideal geographical, historical and artistic path to capture, in a multifaceted variety of themes, the mutations of a constantly evolving country: North and South, city and countryside, work and parties, tradition and innovation, social history and cultural life. Visions where the surprise is in the “staging”, in the original choices of each photographer.
The initiative Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Italy’s self-portrait at the mirror is promoted by the Municipality of Florence and organized by MUS.E, thanks to Fondazione CR Firenze, Unicoop Firenze, in collaboration with Mazzoleni, the exhibitions will be exceptionally free to the public.
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