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FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 | LA VIA EMILIA. Strade, viaggi, confini
Walker Evans, Hitchhikers near Vicksburg, Mississippi ,1936 Data stampa 1980, Collezione privata. В© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


THE VIA EMILIA. Roads, journeys, borders



From 6th MAY to 10th JULY


11th edition

THE VIA EMILIA. Roads, journeys, borders



Friday 6th May 2016, 6.00 p.m.

Reggio Emilia, Chiostri di San Pietro


The main cultural institutions and exhibition venues of the city will host a rich programme of exhibitions, conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events dedicated entirely to the art form that more than others communicates and interprets the complexity of contemporary society.


Reggio Emilia, March 2016


From 6th May to 10th July 2016, Reggio Emilia will host the 11th edition of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA, the festival promoted and organised by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, dedicated entirely to the art form that more than others communicates and interprets the complexity of contemporary society.

Exhibitions, conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events, hosted in the main cultural institutions and exhibition venues of the city, will be the ingredients of a rich programme of events featuring protagonists of photography, culture, and knowledge to stimulate an encounter between different expressions of creativity and thought.

Curated by an advisory committee composed of Diane Dufour (director of Le Bal, Paris), Elio Grazioli (University of Bergamo), and Walter Guadagnini (Accademia delle Belle Arti of Bologna), FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 revolves around the theme The Via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders.

This year the reflection focuses on the theme of roads, starting from the major Roman road that runs “from the river to the sea” and extending to the byways of the world, the places of transit and borders in today’s society.

At a distance of thirty years, the theme revisits Explorations along the Via Emilia (1986), the collective project on the landscape curated by Luigi Ghirri with a group of photographers and writers who recounted the “face of a real country”, marking a significant page in contemporary photography.

“The Via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders does not intend solely to update the images of thirty years ago,” affirm the curators, “but especially to underscore how both the world and the ways of representing it have changed during the last three decades, and in particular how change has affected the theory and practice of photography, namely the language through which all those who use a photographic tool express themselves today – the ‘roads’ are thus simultaneously those of photography, its borders, frontiers, and transit points.”

At the Chiostri di San Pietro, one of the main hubs of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA, the exhibition 1986. Explorations along the Via Emilia, curated by Laura Gasparini, will present a selection of works – all shown on that historic occasion – by artists including Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Vincenzo Castella, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Vittore Fossati, Luigi Ghirri, Guido Guidi, Mimmo Jodice, Klaus Kinold, Claude Nori, Cuchi White, Manfred Willman, and the video by Nino Criscenti, with the aim to recreate the cultural climate of one of the most lucid and exciting experiences in the history of Italian photography.

In addition, original materials of the epoch, including the catalogue, mock-ups, and contact sheets, will illustrate the extensive research on the territory that began in 1984 and concluded with the collective exhibition of 1986.

The festival will be completed with the section 2016. New explorations, for which FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA has commissioned seven contemporary artists to conduct “new explorations” of the Via Emilia, bearing witness to the continuity of a commitment. This surprising journey, between reality and imagination, between documentation and invention, will make the 2016 edition of the festival truly unique. Photographers Alain Bublex, Stefano Graziani, Antonio Rovaldi, Sebastian Stumpf, Davide Tranchina, Paolo Ventura, and Lorenzo Vitturi are among the major players of the current national and international photography scene, and their images will no doubt be the most eagerly anticipated new element of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016.

From the Via Emilia, the theme extends towards the roads of the world. The Chiostri di San Pietro will also host the exhibition Exile, presenting the work of 24 photographers from the Magnum agency. The images on display were taken by leading figures of photojournalism, including Werner Bischof, Robert Capa, Stuart Franklin, Paolo Pellegrin, Abbas, Chris Steele-Perkins, Philip Jones Griffiths, and Leonard Freed, just to name a few, in which the theme of exile is viewed as a one-way road from which there is no return, a condition of non-belonging, a place alien to one’s own history and culture. The exhibition begins with history and arrives at the tragic pages of current events.

In the wake of the success of the previous editions, the project Speciale Diciottoventicinque will return once again to the Chiostri di San Pietro. Under the guidance of three photography and art professionals, such as Giorgio Barrera, Pietro Iori, and Diego Zuelli, 60 young people between 18 and 25 will have the possibility to learn how to develop an exhibition project, from drafting the concept to the final exhibition. This year, for the first time, the young artists will also have the opportunity to explore the world of videos.

From its beginnings, photography has been closely tied to the exploration and study of the territory. The first photography books contributed to creating and reinforcing an imaginary geography of places, modelling our perception of space and time. This fascinating theme is the focus of the exhibition of photography books curated by Ilaria Campioli, at the Chiostri di San Pietro. The show will present books that employ the same narrative and visual structure common to the explorations of the 19th and 20th centuries, to reflect on the complex relationships between discovery, journey, and conquest.

For the first time in Italy, Palazzo Magnani will show more than 150 images and 80 journals to pay homage to Walker Evans (1903-1975), one of the great photographers of the 20th century, who shot some of his most famous images along the roads of the United States.

The American photographer will be celebrated with two distinct exhibitions. The first, WALKER EVANS. Anonymous, curated by David Campany, Jean-Paul Deridder and Sam StourdzГ© (catalogue by Steidl), will present the photo-editing work developed by Evans in numerous American magazines starting from 1929. Differently from many photographers, Walker Evans did not work for magazines exclusively as a photographer; often it was he himself who chose the theme, wrote the texts, selected the photographs, and created the page layout. While the mass media lingered on the cult of celebrity and consumerism, Evans photographed anonymous citizens and their everyday life, creating direct and head-on images of the conditions of the country, with an austere and detached style free from any form of romantic idealism. His intense images, mostly in black and white, ordained Evans as the pioneer of documentary photography and became symbols of American culture in the years of the New Deal.

The second exhibition, WALKER EVANS. Italia, curated by Laura Gasparini (catalogue by Silvana editoriale), has been expressly produced for FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016. On display will be 50 of Evans’ most famous photographs from public and private Italian collections, works that inspired the poetic language of many of the photographers involved in Explorations along the Via Emilia, including Ghirri, Basilico, Guidi, and Barbieri. As evidence of this inspiration, the exhibition will also include a number of works by these Italian artists, stemming from the reflection on the lesson of the great American master, along with publications from the 1930s and ‘40s that attest to the presence of Walker Evans in the history of Italian cinema and photography in the post-war era.

The itinerary of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 will continue in other symbolic sites of Reggio Emilia.

Spazio Gerra will host the exhibition Disco Emilia, stemming from a project involving an in-depth historical-social investigation of the twenty-year period between the early ’70s and the late ’80s, in which the region witnessed the rise of a true entertainment district, with more than 35 dance clubs operating within a 100 km range. It was an epic time with a wild mix of music, images, fashion, technology, and performance, giving rise to exponential growth and to its contradictions that still reverberate today. This social and cultural phenomenon is documented by the images of Gabriele Basilico, who in 1978 portrayed its first phase with his series Dancing in Emilia, and then brought to the present day with the photographs of Andrea Amadasi, Hyena, and Arianna Lerussi.

Palazzo da Mosto – one of the venues most appreciated last year for the beauty of the building itself and its exhibition spaces – owned by the Fondazione Manodori, will host the collective exhibition From the Via Emilia to the World, curated by the Festival advisory committee, presenting the work of Ziad Antar, Paola De Pietri, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Kent Klich, Bettina Lockemann, Maanantai Collective, Michael Najjar, Paolo Pellegrin, Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber.

It is essentially nine solo exhibitions by artists from different European countries (Sweden, Germany, Finland, Italy) who use various media, from photography to video installations, to investigate the themes of journeys and borders, in both their social and individual aspects. All well-known on the international art scene, a number of these artists will be exhibiting for the first time in Italy, confirming the proactive nature of the festival.

In the wake of the extraordinary experience of Joan Fontcuberta in last year’s edition, Palazzo dei Musei will open its rooms to Paolo Gioli, one of the great masters of Italian and international photography. In the exhibition Nature attraverso, Paolo Gioli explored the spaces and the collections of the Musei Civici of Reggio Emilia, creating a series of new works, made using the photofinish technique. Once again an original project, once again a unique event in the panorama of national festivals.

Palazzo dei Musei will also host a solo exhibition of work by Fabio Boni, who will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross with portraits of its volunteers.

From the very first edition, FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA has always been a stage where work by the new generations of artists could be presented. The Chiostri di San Domenico, for example, will host exhibitions by the five European artists selected by the advisory committee from among more than 250 projects submitted to the Public call.

These projects range from the research of Filippo Minelli, whose project Padania Classic documents the changes of the contemporary architectural landscape of the Po Valley from the ’80s to the present, intentionally omitting natural landscapes and the historical heritage, to the work of the duo Luca Santese and Pasquale Bove, whose project Italy&Italy will organically structure the iconography of the Nineties, focussing on the everyday and social life of Rimini and its environs. Then there are the investigations carried out by Françoise Beauguion, In the country nowhere – Migrations to Europe, which analyses the theme of migration in Europe; Ikuru Kuwajima, Trail, which documents his trip by car in the Pamir mountains of Tagikistan along the Afghan border; and Cyrus Mahboubian and Sophie Nicole Culière, Wanderlust, in which the road is the trace for telling about the passage of humankind through the world.

Also in this area, Palazzo Casotti will host Sideways, an exhibition dedicated to emerging photographers under 35, curated by Daniele De Luigi in collaboration with GAI, the Association for the Circuit of Young Italian Artists.

At the Galleria Parmeggiani, two events dedicated to photographers, who were born and work in the region, will attest to the Festival’s desire to maintain strong ties with its roots and a strong relationship with the cultural fabric that animates it.

The first is The Journey through Time of iPhonegraphy by Giuliano Ferrari, who used the iPhone camera to retrace and update the destinations of the Grand Tour, where wealthy young men of the European aristocracy, starting in the 17th century, would travel to Italy to study the antiquities, Renaissance painting and the landscape. The second is Columnae Herculis: border architectures and militarised urban planning strategies, a project by Saverio Cantoni, curated by Giovanna Calvenzi, which investigates the architectural and urbanistic strategies in the construction and maintenance of the southern border of the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea.

On the occasion of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016, the Maramotti Collection has organised two exhibitions. Claudia Losi’s project How do I imagine to being there? starts from a travel chronicle, an actual exploration of the St. Kilda islands in 2012, then shifts to the construction of new mental maps and artefacts that constitute mnemonic sedimentations of the landscape. So near, so far by Paolo Simonazzi will provide an original view on our territory, seen as a crossroads of semantic, cultural, linguistic, and visual communications through a series of shots that cover the last twenty years of his work.

FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 opens a new chapter and presents numerous new initiatives in conjunction with the Emilia-Romagna Region, based on the common objective to develop synergies and collaborations with other entities of the territory. This year, the festival with its theme The Via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders thus establishes cooperative relationships with other prestigious organisations within the regional cultural system, such as CSAC – Study Centre and Communication Archive of the University of Parma, the MAST Foundation (Arts, Experience and Technology) of Bologna, and Linea di Confine per la Fotografia Contemporanea of Rubiera, which will present exhibitions and events connected to the festival.

The CSAC – Study Centre and Communication Archive of the University of Parma will propose the result of an investigation in the archives of its Photography Section. The exhibition Explorations of the Archive: The Via Emilia, photographs of the Via Emilia will display historical nuclei of prints from its collections, by Bruno Stefani and by important photography studios such as Studio Villani in Bologna and Studio Vasari in Rome, alongside the work of the protagonists of the new photography of the last quarter of the 20th century. Interwoven with all this are news photos, photographs of sport, social rituals, and shots of everyday life. The intention is to offer a reflection on the views of this landscape with the aim to provide a backdrop to the project of Explorations of the Via Emilia, 1986. The venue, a former hay barn, will also offer a repeat showing of the exhibition of the Festival of Architecture 2007-08 dedicated to the public landscape entitled Habitare la via Emilia. Presenze e luoghi di rifondazione insediativa (Inhabiting the Via Emilia: Presences and places of settlement re-establishment), the result of a study that employs a precise topographic-photographic survey to reflect on the structures and components of the development of the Roman road as an instrument of continuous regeneration of human settlement in the Emilia region.

The MAST Foundation (Arts, Experience and Technology) of Bologna will host the exhibition Ceramica, Latte, Macchine e Logistica. Fotografie dell’Emilia Romagna al lavoro (Ceramics, Milk, Machinery and Logistics: Photographs of Emilia-Romagna at work) curated by Urs Stahel. Through the photographs of artists such as Olivo Barbieri, Tim Davis, William Guerrieri, Guido Guidi, Paola de Pietri, Franco Vaccari, Walter Niedermayr and others, the exhibition will document the development of the Emilia-Romagna region over the last several decades. Pairs of contrasting images will convey how the old industries have disappeared, replaced by new high-tech production systems, and how the traditional landscape of a region with an ancient flavour is being replaced by new areas of the advanced tertiary sector.

At the Ospitale in Rubiera (RE), Linea di Confine per la Fotografia Contemporanea will present an exhibition curated by Antonello Frongia entitled Per strada (On the road), which will propose more than 60 photographs from the early ‘70s to 2007, created by Guido Guidi along the Via Emilia and the secondary roads, also including the series on the Teatro Bonci of Cesena created in 1984 with Luigi Ghirri, unpublished works of Explorations along the Via Emilia, and the series SS9. The programme also includes an exhibition of work produced by the participants in the thematic workshops conducted along the Via Emilia by Guido Guidi (Per strada), Sabrina Ragucci  (Contemporaneamente immagini e parole), and Marco Signorini (Sguardi, grafemi, codici), curated by William Guerrieri.

For the 11th edition, FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 will also be enhanced by the Circuito Off, a programme of more than 300 exhibitions and events independently organised and managed by galleries, associations, public and private entities, spread throughout the local and provincial territory.

FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA is a project promoted and organised by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia in conjunction with the Emilia-Romagna Region, in collaboration with the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani, the Fondazione Pietro Manodori, the Chamber of Commerce of Reggio Emilia, and the APT Tourism Service of the Emilia-Romagna Region.


FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 – 11th edition

THE VIA EMILIA. Roads, journeys, borders

Reggio Emilia  6th May – 10th July 2016

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