Mediterranean. An Anthology by Images

Capri Photography Festival

capri

Sfinge greca a Villa San Michele, Capri 1932 - © Herbert List Estate/Contrasto

Mediterranean. An Anthology by Images.
Photographs by Herbert List and Maurizio Galimberti.

A project by Denis Curti
Certosa di San Giacomo, Quarto del Priore, Capri
Period: From July 9th to September 4th, 2011 (extended until September 25th)

Opening: 18.00 Saturday, July 9th 2011
Free entrance Tuesday through Saturday 10.00-14.00 and 17.00-20.00

On July 9th, 2011 the Capri Photography Festival will be opening its third edition. Following the success of the exhibitions covering the work of Baron Von Gloeden (2009) and Mimmo Jodice (2011), Fondazione Capri will resume its cultural and artistic activity in this summer event, completely dedicated to language, contemporary art and photography. On this edition, Capri Photography 2011 will wear the brand new clothes of a photography review and will include some specific activities, from July 27th to the end of September.

The Festival will introduce the show: Mediterranean. An Anthology by Images. Photographs by Herbert List and Maurizio Galimberti, hosted in the picturesque venue of Certosa di San Giacomo, two theme workshops with Alessandra Mauro and Maurizio Galimberti and a portfolio review open to both amateurs and professionals. The exhibition is designed to draw a route through a trilogy dedicated to great classic photography and start a new research into contemporary photography. The selection from the German author (Hamburg, 1903 – Munchen, 1975) is made up of 50 prints from the prestigious Estate List of Hamburg.

The production of List is unparalleled, very dense and compact, however limited the number of subjects one looks at: the subject we will focus on the present exhibition is the Mediterranean. On the other hand, Herbert List set quite a big portion of his work in this geographical area, turning it into a real protagonist of his imagery and then bringing in the main themes of his research. In actual fact, Greece is the place where most of his pictures were taken between 1937 and 1939 after he moved to Italy following the dramatic war period between 1950 and1961. The centre and the south of Italy are the locations which he found the most inspiring: from Rome, the subject of his 1955 publication, to Naples, the subject of another theme work in 1962, to the rough beauty of Sicily and the radiating light of Capri.

marina piccola

Piccola Marina, Capri, Agosto 1932 - © Herbert List Estate/Contrasto

Mediterranean. An Anthology by Images on Flickr

The works of Maurizio Galimberti are a natural extension to List’s work. His master-of-elegance gaze goes back to familiar places and styles and finally turns into a route of experimentation and artistic research. The exhibition of Galimberti is the first of a number Fondazione Capri will be staging every year: starting 2011, a different author will be entrusted with the task of telling an original unheard of tale about Capri. The first series, from Christmas 2010, is composed of black and white Polaroid material. This section shows Galimberti’s tribute to Herbert List, evident in the same fascination for silent and elegant landscapes. All the images convey the idea of overriding exclusive beauty. The nature, the sea and unexpected scenarios make the favourite hint for an intimate secretive gaze.

The second series is based on the technique of mosaic which includes large pictures made up of to 200 Polaroid snapshots put together. The talent of Galimberti is evident here to replicate the rhythm and the fascination of the architecture and paramount views around the island. The third part is dedicated to big Polaroid format 50X60. Unique images, portraits, home interiors and breathtaking views, taken through the colours of instant photos.

Workshops and conferences

The two activities above will take place on July 16th and 17th, in the show areas of Grand Hotel Quisisana. On July 16th, Alessandra Mauro will hold a workshop-conference entitled Photographs for an Exhibition. When a Photography Project Becomes an Exhibition. The main contents of the workshop will include: Alfred Stieglitz would regard photography exhibitions as demonstrations of something: an idea, a particular vision, a specific mode to tell about the world or just a simple story. Bearing this teaching in mind, the workshop will try to look into each demonstration (laws, photography exhibition) by singling out the theories, the potential as well as the technical and logistical needs we should not forget about when photographs become three-dimensional objects on display in a museum or in a gallery.

The workshop will also highlight the relationship between a photography exhibition and a catalogue: how a project can turn into a travel in space (exhibition) and in time (book). A number of practical examples will complete the presentation. Alessandra Mauro has a degree in Humanities. She is a columnist and editor-in-chief of Contrasto, Roma and Art Director of Forma – Centro Internazionale di Fotografia di Milano. She taught Theory and History of Photography at Università Suor Orsola Benincasa in Naples. The workshop will take into exam a number of case histories from different photography festivals around Europe as well as the best ways to set up an exhibition, the promotion of artistic work, in-depth analysis of today’s schools of thought in contemporary photography and the best ways to run a museum.

On July 17th the project coordinated by Maurizio Galimberti will deal with the themes of creativity and project in photography. The one-day workshop will focus on the practice, the shot, the composition and the final selection of images. After giving a short introduction, Galimberti will lead the participants to a number of locations to take some training shots around the island and then will move on to analyse and discuss the pictures. All participants must have their own photo camera.

galimberti

Capri, Dicembre 2010 - Foto di maurizio Galimberti

Mediterranean. An Anthology by Images on Flickr

On July 9th, 17th-18th a Portfolio Reading will take place. This activity is aimed to all photography lovers who wish to check out with specialized and qualified professionals. This meeting will give you the opportunity to show your own pictures and discuss their real value. The participation is free of charge, but it is necessary to enrol at Fondazione Capri secretary at Grand Hotel Quisisana. Each portfolio reading will last 20 minutes. The experts we have selected are: Alessandra Mauro (Art Director of Forma and Editor-in-Chief of Contrasto), Mimmo Jodice (Photographer), Denis Curti (Director of the Milan branch of Contrasto), Roberta Valtorta (Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Cinisello Balsamo), Maurizio Galimberti (Photographer), Roberto Koch (President of Fondazione Forma e Contrasto).

Herbert List

The photography career of Herbert List, born in Hamburg in 1903, spreads over three decades, becoming more relevant between 1936, when he left Germany for political and personal reasons, and the mid 1960s. He worked at his father’s coffee import business from South America and was soon absorbed by the hobby of collecting Italian drawings from the XVII and the XVIII century. He started taking his first photographs using a medium-sized Hasselbad and then a more practical 35 mm – the resulting pictures are still among the most elegant and poetical in the whole history of photography.

To give an extreme synthesis of his biography as a photographer, List appears as an extremely versatile artist: he first worked for a number of fashion magazines including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, he was a full-fledged artist and, from 1951 on, after meeting Robert Capa, he joined the Magnum photography group, the most prestigious photo-journalistic agency ever, set up just a few years before in Paris by Capa himself along with Henri Cratier-Bresson, David Chim Seymour and George Rodger. Yet, List’s versatility is unique, as it can adjust to a bunch of different destinations, while his production shows an uninterrupted path through his poetics and style.

Some of List’s main cultural references are to be found in Italian cultural movements, including De Chirico’s Metaphysical Art and Neorealism, which embodies Italy’s artistic rebirth following the dismay of the two wars and which prompted him to collaboration with Vittorio De Sica on the Neapolitan series. He seems to have drawn from Metaphysical Art his interest for antiquity and for unveiling the enigmatic side of reality. Neorealism finds its way into List’s work as his idyllic settings show, i.e. a special interest in the environment and the skill he has when conveying nature’s enchantment and roughness alike. Antiquity and landscape, culture and nature, these are the concepts which make up the opposite and yet complementary landmarks of this kind of Arcadia List discovers in Southern Italy. Another key element to the German photographer’s research is the human body, connecting the man and the environment. Some of his images are a glorious display of bodies, flesh and muscles lying in the sun, like a precious sculpture or a majestic marina.

Everything here finds its highest degree of perfection. The sea, the sand, the stone and the Mediterranean sun reach their purest expression. Among those works, some key 19th century icons really stand out, along with some unreleased and still unknown to the public and scholars. They are all the result of List’s extraordinary ability to combine an innermost instinct to a subject with a stringent rigour of representation. Threading this thin line, we can understand the uniqueness of List’s art – a really modern classic.

In the 1960s, the artist leads some anthropological research on a bunch of themes: from feasts to religious rituals in the south to healthcare and mental disease problems, from school to imprisonment, from work to social marginalization in the huge suburbs around Naples. His social photography doesn’t fall into traditional reportage categories.

Maurizio Galimberti

Maurizio Galimberti was born in Como in 1956. He studied as a land-surveyor and it is in building sites where he developed the stringent point of view he was to impress the world with. As a young man, he took part in a number of different photography competitions and won some of them by using fancy names such as his wife’s or his mother’s. He took his first photographs by ordinary analogical film opting for a rotating lens widelux B/W camera and in diapo/cibachrome mode before he discovered his real passion-obsession for Polaroid in 1983. He simply couldn’t wait for hours to see his photos developed and also suffered from a lifelong fear of dark rooms. Besides, he found that instant camera’s rendering of colours was simply magical and started a long research path up into the present day.

In the early 1990s he decided to leave the family building business and focus on photography only. In 1991 he started his collaboration and became official testimonial with Polaroid Italia, as resulted in the POLAROID PRO ART photobook, released in 1995, a real cult object for polaroid integral film lovers. 1997 sees Galimberti’s Polaroid mosaics step into the collecting world. His peculiar technique is deeply impacted by Boccioni’s Futurism and the frantic dynamism of Duchamp. Galimberti can visualise a complex image scanning, read the notes of its music in his mind in the blink of an eye and then turn it into a work of art both mathematical in its detail and harmony-like as a whole.

The same technique made him famous for his mosaic portraits. In 1999 he is Class magazine number one for Italian photo-portrait painters. The popularity and success of his unusual face portraits prompted him to take part in many editions of Venice Film Festival. In particular, on the 2003 Festival edition, his portrait of Johnny Depp would be selected as the cover for the British edition of the Time Magazine on September, 27th. His peculiar technique has called the interest of a number of top companies in different areas including: AC Football Milan (“Il Milan del centenario”), Fiat Auto (2006 calendar, “Viaggio in Italia… nuova Fiat 500” photobook), Kerakoll (“NewYorkmatericomovimentosa” photobook), Jaeger Lecoultre (“La grand maison” photobook), Illy Caffé (institutional campaign 2008), Nokia (“telefoninotempoemozione” photobook), Lancia Auto (portraits from the 66th edition of Venice Film Festival).

In 2005, the meeting with the Fumagallis, contemporary art lovers and collectors, allowed Galimberti to start a series of important photobooks featuring world top cities such as New York, Venice and Berlin. In 1997 Archivio NordEst was set up to collect, number and sort out his works as well as to exploit and preserve their authenticity. In October 2009, in the occasion of the reopening of Polaroid, he was invited as official testimonial to the Hong Kong Photography Festival for the launch of new products. Besides that, Galimberti is visiting professor at Domus Academy and the Istituto Italiano di Fotografia of Milan. He regularly holds creative photography workshops at top photography festivals. He is currently working on a prestigious publication on the city of Milan in sight of 2015 Expo.

The Curator

Denis Curti is the Director of Milan’s branch of Contrasto and Vicepresident of FONDAZIONE FORMA, Centro Internazionale di Fotografia. He is the Director of the Post-graduate Photography Course organised by NABA and Fondazione FORMA. He is the Director of the Photojournalism school of Contrasto. He is a consultant at the Fondazione di Venezia for photographical heritage. He was Director at Festival di Fotografia di Savignano sul Rubicone from 2000 to 2006. For over 15 years he was journalist and photography critic for the magazines Vivimilano and Corriere della Sera. He was Art Director at five editions of Biennale Internazionale di Fotografia of Turin.

He is an expert on the photography collecting market and back in the 2002-2003 he was curator of the first photo auctions at Sotheby’s House in Milan. In 2003 he was in the jury of the first edition of the International Photography Prize at the Photography Festival of Arles. From 1995 to 2002 he was Director of Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia. In the 1990s he was Director of the Photography School at Istituto Europeo di Design of Turin. He is the author and the curator of several books on photography, his latest work is Collezionare fotografia, Contrasto catalogue, text by Denis Curti, released in 2010.

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