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iKennardphillipps, Stop posters, 2005.
Courtesy the artists.

Afterimage. Representations of the conflict
curated by Valeria Mancinelli, Chiara Nuzzi and Stefania Rispoli

A project, that became an exhibition, to reflect on how what we see remains in our memory and contributes to the collective construction of reality

When we look at any light source with a naked eye, closing our eyelids we have the sensation that its shiny, dazzling mark continues to persist on our retina despite the disappearance of the light stimulus that produced it. It is an optical illusion, the perceptual kind, generated by the physiology of the eye and known by the name of ghost image or afterimage.
Something conceptually very similar also happens though, when we look at an image, it affects us deeply in form, content and sequences. Let's think of, for example, the images of war. With the help of our memory – often seduced by a combination of very little studium and punctum, to use a terminology dear to Roland Barthes – in fact these images continue to remain etched in our minds even after their vision has ceased, affecting our way of how to read and interpret the reality of the facts of which they carry traces.
Starting with this assumption, and then extending to excess the meaning of afterimage, Valeria Mancinelli, Chiara Nuzzi and Stefania Rispoli have tried to compose a speech in parallel to investigate the potentiality of the public representation of the images of war and the persistence that these have in building collective reality. This led to the project Afterimage. Representations of the conflict, which is currently on display at the Galleria Civica di Trento.
Winner of the CXC Call for Curators, the national competition for curators under 35 called by Mart last autumn, the project explores the relationship between images and conflict in recent times, offering a moment of reflection on the status and on the production of images that tell of war, apparently always freer and autonomous in the forms and methods of use.
The point of departure is that today, in an era dominated by the so-called permanent war, the overload of information and where it is possible to reach virtually almost every part of the world, the circulation of these images – embedded in a variety of contexts of use, sometimes very different from each other – and the statute of truthfulness of what is shown plays a decisive role in the description of contemporary scenarios and in the formation of individual ideas and/or social, so much so often to determine balances, inequalities, inclusions and exclusions.
Through an itinerary that contemplates videos, photographs and installations, and involving artists distant in age, as well as in cultural and geographical backgrounds, embracing a time period of over more than sixty years, the exhibition then questions what role these images play in the collective perception of a condition of war or peace. It asks, in other words, how visual storytelling influences the public opinion today, building consent or dissent around certain military operations and, with them, a certain definition of reality and truth.
All this to try to respond to the urgent need to create and provide new critical tools to analyse and understand an increasingly more complex reality in which, especially in case of conflict, the persuasive power of representation seems to acquire an as yet unknown magnitude.
The exhibition is part of Mart/Great War 2014, the extensive cultural programme conceived by Mart on the centenary of the First World War and still ongoing between Rovereto and Trento, respectively, in the spaces of the Mart, Casa Depero and the Galleria Civica.

[ Stefania Biamonti ]

iAung Ko, We are moving #2, 2012.
Private collection.

iDemocracia, We protect you from yourselves, 2013.
Courtesy Prometeogallery of Ida Pisani, Milano ñ Lucca.

iCamilla de Maffei, The invisible mountain. Sarajevo, 2013-14.
Courtesy the artist.

iMartha Rosler, Invasion, 2008.
Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milano.

iThomas Kilpper, War Pages, 2006 (detail allestimento).
Courtesy the artist and Nagel-Draxler Gallery, Cologne, Berlin.


Afterimage. Rappresentazioni del conflitto
curated by Valeria Mancinelli, Chiara Nuzzi, Stefania Rispoli
26 October 2014 - 1 February 2015

Civica Trento
via Belenzani, 44 - Trento

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am - 1 pm and 2 pm - 6 pm.
Closed Monday.
Admission: regular admission 2,00 €. Free for children under 14 and for Amici del Museo.

A detail of the proposed set up of the exhibition Afterimage. Representations of the conflict at the Galleria Civica in Trento.

The authors at the exhibition - Bisan Abu-Eisheh, Mohamed Bourouissa, Stefano Cagol, Mircea Cantor, Anetta Mona Chis¸a & Lucia Tká ová, Leone Contini, Marco Dalbosco, Camilla de Maffei, Democracia, Harun Farocki, Massimo Grimaldi, Adelita Husni-Bey, Lamia Joreige, Kennardphillipps, Thomas Kilpper, Aung Ko, Nikki Luna, Francesco Mattuzzi, Pietro Mele, Aditya Novali, Ahmet Ö üt, Fabrizio Perghem, Martha Rosler, Pietro Ruffo, Giorgio Salomon, Cindy Sherman, Abigail Sidebotham, Eyal Sivan, Hito Steyerl, ZimmerFrei.

With open eyes. When history stopped in a picture
curated by Alessandra Mauro and Lorenza Bravetta

A book and an exhibition are celebrating a group of photographers who are shaping our collective consciousness by documenting fragments of current history that would have otherwise been forgotten

«If your picture is not good it means you were not close enough». This is one of the most famous statements of Robert Capa, it is one of those sentences that often comes back to the eyes, ears and lips of whoever dedicates life to photo-reportage. A simple but powerful line that brings with it traces of an era that is worth putting into context in order to avoid generalisations that may mislead us.
The closeness to the subject (physical but also emotive closeness, if you think of its broader sense) does not guarantee the quality as Capa intended it. As Joan Fontcuberta clearly explains in the book Pandora's camera (La (foto)camera di Pandora, Contrasto, 2012, p.156) «getting closer allows details but leads to myopia; it eliminates the frame and does not allow us to see the overall global surrondings. Capa gets physically closer – so that he can participate and be involved – to be able to optically distance himself – in this way he explains and allows people to know». In fact, it's not the proximity itself that determines the value of a picture or a reportage, but it is instead the ability of its author to pursue and embrace it with the right tools and due tact, in order to establish connections and to relate everything that flows and happens beyond the lens.
This is the only way to allow whoever looks at his work to understand, to insert “that history” in a bigger and more complicated picture, without giving up to the flattery of simplification. «To teach the details means to bring chaos – said Maria Montessori – establishing the connection between things brings knowledge». This is exactly what the authors taking part in the exhibition A occhi aperti. Quando la Storia si è fermata in una foto (With open eyes. When History stopped in a picture) have done. The exhibition has been produced exclusively for La Venaria Reale and it has been organised by Consorzio La Venaria Reale, in collaboration with Contrasto and Magnum Photos; it is also based on the homonym book by Mario Calabresi.
The participating photographers have documented facts and stories with their pictures and although sometimes secondary at first sight they have contributed in time to add a crucial dowel to the reconstruction of some events; they have in fact contributed to history with a capital “h”. As Calabresi himself explains «there are in fact pieces of history that exist only because there is a picture to narrate them». And if there is a picture that can narrate them and transform them into historic memories, shaping our collective consciousness, this means that someone has been able to intercept, recognise and anticipate them. Someone that has kept their eyes open on the world and the correct distance from it.

[ Stefania Biamonti ]

i San Ysidro, California, 1979.
© Alex Webb/Magnum Photos/Contrasto.

i Arlington, Virginia, 25 November 1963.
© Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos/Contrasto.


A occhi aperti
by Mario Calabresi

«This is not a book on photography but on journalism, on the essence of journalism: go and see, to understand and to witness.»
Mario Calabresi

pages 208
format 16x22,4cm
pictures 122 in colours and black and white
binding hardback with a cloth covered spine
publication year 2013
publishing house Contrasto
isbn 978-88-6965-455-8
price 19,90 € (16,92 € online)

i Robert F. Kennedy funeral train, 1968.
© Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos/Contrasto.


A occhi aperti. Quando la storia si è fermata in una foto
curated by Alessandra Mauro and Lorenza Bravetta
26 July 2014 - 8 February 2015*

Reggia di Venaria (Sala delle Arti)
piazza della Repubblica, 4 – Venaria Reale (TO)

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 9 am - 5pm;
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 9.30 am - 7.30 pm. Closed Monday.
December 24 and 31, 2014, 9 am - 3 pm.
Admission: regular admission 10,00 €; reduction 8,00 €; 6,00 € for kids from 6 to 20;
3,00 € for shools; Free for children under 6.

(*) From 21 February to 10 May 2015, the exhibition will be shown at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome

Some close ups of the fitting proposed by the exhibition A occhi aperti. Quando la storia si è fermata in una foto at Reggia di Venaria.

The authors at the exhibition - Abbas, Gabriele Basilico, Elliott Erwitt, Paul Fusco, Don McCullin, Steve McCurry, Josef Koudelka, Paolo Pellegrin, Sebastião Salgado, Alex Webb.

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