1 / 10       © Jordi Pizarro, from the series The Believers, 2010-2014.
2 / 10       © Jordi Pizarro, from the series The Believers, 2010-2014.
3 / 10       During the visit to the exhibition The Believers by Jordi Pizarro. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
4 / 10       © Michele Borzoni, Jerusalem, 2012. From the exhibition Inshallah. Arab christians in the Middle East.
5 / 10       © Michele Borzoni, "Garbage city", Il Cairo, Egypt, 2011. From the exhibition Inshallah. Arab christians in the Middle East.
6 / 10       During the visit to the exhibition Inshallah. Arab Christians in the Middle East by Michele Borzoni. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
7 / 10       During the visit to the exhibition Haiti by Stanley Greene. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
8 / 10       © James Estrin, from the series Observance.
9 / 10       During the visit to the exhibition Observance by James Estrin. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
10 / 10       During the visit to the exhibition dedicated to the winners of the Self Publishing Photolux Award 2015. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

The darkness of Guinigi Palace

The dark atmosphere suits Guinigi Palace. And suits the exhibitions grouped here on the occasion of the Photolux Festival 2015. All of the works shown are around themes that are strictly connected to the main theme of this Festival’s edition, Sacred and Profane. Mostly they focus on the sacred side, exploring the concept in different ways and proposing overall an interesting breach in the way we understand, live and practice spirituality, whenever linked or not to a belief. All of them demand silence and focus. The choice of grouping them in a single exhibitive space seems to me very appropriate, and the names of the participating authors and curators look very promising.
I arrive at Guinigi Palace about two hours before its closure. I walk past the desk where two girls are checking the tickets and I look around. It is dark everywhere. I turn around a little perplexed and one of the girls, smiling, points me in the direction of the lift. I press the button repeatedly for around one minute; nothing, it does not work. The same girl smiles and tells me not to insist: «Better if you take the stairs» she advises and while I walk towards the stairs she adds «Be careful, the first floor is completely dark». Thanks God she told me... I manage to reach the exhibition room thanks to moving my hand along the old scratched wall. Darkness makes space to light here; however, very soon I realise that it will accompany me somehow for the rest of my visit.
I see a tentative to contrast the darkness of rhetoric in Michele Borzoni’s exhibition. Inshallah. Christian communities in the Middle East is in fact an accurate work that recomposes, image after image, some sort of mosaic that allows perceiving silences, atmospheres, gestures and rituals that make the daily life of the Christian communities living in the Middle East. The richness of the details is astonishing; everything is in its place and it is waiting to be captured. Slowly. It is a pity that the itinerary is not accompanied by captions along the way, as these would have made the narration of the work even more intense and extensive. And it is a kind of struggle waged against the darkness – this time understood as the abyss of evil, or of the wicked, and of human misery – even the exhibitions Haiti by Stanley Greene and Observance by James Estrin speak of it. The first one is dedicated to the Voodoo religion and it is, how to explain the presentation text of the exhibition, «a not in-depth vision of religious and spiritual practices of the Haitian population», so as not to say superficial, which probably makes sense only if inserted within a broader discussion on Haiti and its people. The second exhibition – focused towards the divine inherent in man, believer or not – has instead the quality of showing in how many occasions and different ways the human being can find itself brush a transcendent dimension, without necessarily adhering to a creed, but at an iconic level it is better to overlook...
«Darkness has conquered Guinigi Palace», I whisper to myself, and like receiving a sudden slap, I realise that it is the darkness of reason that is presented to me with the exhibition The Believers, by Jordi Pizzaro. It is a long term project, still a work in progress, that involves religious communities of ten different countries and tries to fully explore – with extreme shot angles that are immerse in a violent black and white contrast – the intimate and complex link between faith and practice in the life of the believers. In this context, the author documents and proposes the most brutal moments of devotion, moments that mortify body and mind in the name of obedience, and unconditional submission to a dogma. The images are very striking but to strike me now it is also the fact that, as unfortunately often happens, the captions are very rare and sporadic.
I terminate my visit in the room dedicated to the winners of the Self Publishing Photolux Award 2015, and then I reach the exit. It is very cold outside. And the darkness that now surrounds me is not only just a metaphor… [ S. B. ]

- - -

THE BELIEVERS by Jordi Pizarro
INSHALLAH. ARAB CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST by Michele Borzoni
HAITI by Stanley Greene
OBSERVANCE by James Estrin
SELF PUBLISHING PHOTOLUX AWARD 2015
Palazzo Guinigi | 21 November - 13 December 2015
admission fee: 8,00 €

– – –

[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Photolux 2015: the exhibitions
[ video ] Sacred and Profane: interview with Enrico Stefanelli
Photolux 2015 on FPmag

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Photolux Festival 2015

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published on 2015-12-12 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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