curated by Margherita Guccione
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Italian Republic, MAXXI is presenting a group exhibition featuring shots by great Italian and international photographers who have focused on Italy: a poetic and yet documentary, socialand institutional “atlas” of the Italy of recent decades. On show are sublime and blighted landscapes, ideal cities and neglected suburbs, great architecture and marginal urban spaces.
The exhibition layout presents four sections, enriched by videos and photo projections and by the special project Inside Out by JR, installed in the museum square.
The exhibition opens with representations of the worlds of art, architecture, culture and fashion that underlie our national identity. The portraits of the artist of the Venice Biennale by Ugo Mulas and the photographs of Massimo Piersanti contained in the Graziella Lonardi Buontempo archive dialogue with architectural masterpieces photographed by greats such as Gabriele Basilico with the GIL building by Luigi Moretti in Rome. The constructions of the Foro Italico act as a backdrop to the fashion portraits of Giovanni Gastel that celebrate the Made in Italy phenomenon, while the images by Ferdinando Scianna, realised for the first Dolce & Gabbana advertising campaign integrated anthropological research and fashion photography.
This section includes the work by Armin Linke, Il Corpo dello Stato, in which the artist investigates the “secret” rooms of power, the physical places in which decision making power is exercised. In this reflection on public space and its use, Sicily stands as a mirror of the contradictions that are rife throughout the peninsular: the photographs of ecological protest by Letizia Battaglia confront the new forms of a mafia that is part of the system, insinuated in the municipalities, as testified by the project Corpi di reato by Alessandro Imbriaco, Tommaso Buonaventura and Fabio Severo, photographic documentation of the residences of members of mafia organizations found throughout Italy.
Sicily and Italy in general express a sublime, signified, pacific physicality. Certainly an image established in the collective imagination and frequently stereotypical. The gaze of a historic generation of photographers has focused on the relationship between this image and the post-modern panorama that has redefined the suburbs of our cities and above all from the 1980s onwards they have devoted themselves to rewriting the image of Italy: Luigi Ghirri, Mario Cresci, Guido Guidi. Another, equally intense, interpretation is that of Franco Fontana who offers an alienating and ecstatic vision of those landscapes.
From the landscape to the body, in a return to man as the central element and the activator of forces and intellectual and productive energies. In the final section of the exhibition, the world of work is recounted in the historical testimony of Tano D’Amico and Paola Agosti (the strikes, the sit-ins, female labour), from the images of refineries by Paolo Pellegrin to the more recent images of public competitions documented by Michele Borzoni.