The MAXXI Architecture photography collections are composed – to date – of around 1,000 art photographs acquired from 2003 through commissions that were part of research projects analysing the Italian territory.
Photography is a key element of the museum of architecture thanks to its role as a communicative medium in the presentation of both the physical configuration of the space that inevitably lies beyond the museum confines and analysis, interpretation and reflection on the less easily perceptible dynamics actuated within it.
The photographs acquired in this way – thanks to their “auteur” nature – transcend their purely and utilitarian documentary dimension and acquire added poetic and aesthetic value that goes beyond the point of departure, exploring other fields and producing unexpected effects that may help us to understand what is going on around us.
In this sense the research undertaken has used photography as a means rather than an end: as a means, in that it is an instrument for recording the state of the country and its mutating landscape, for documenting and interpreting, constructing memory, prefiguring developments and creating awareness. At the same time, and quite apart from the result of the research, the photograph as a physical object is also the goal of commissions that aim to acquire works of quality for the museum’s collections.
Lastly, the choice of taking the commissioning route rather than acquiring works already available on the market responds to another aspect of the museum’s mission: that of acting as a “factory” for the production of culture, for stimulating and incentivising the work of artists, establishing a relationship with them that ties their work to the projects promoted by MAXXI.
Naturally, the selection of names already present in the collection should not be seen as exhaustive: this is a collection in progress that will be expanded with the works of other photographers – emerging or already established – making up the panorama of art photography.
Olivo Barbieri, Punta faro, 2002 (part.)