1 / 5       From the exhibition La Ville Noire, the Dark Heart of Europe. © Giovanni Troilo.

2 / 5       From the exhibition La Ville Noire, the Dark Heart of Europe. © Giovanni Troilo.

3 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition La Ville Noire, the Dark Heart of Europe by Giovanni Troilo. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

4 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition La Ville Noire, the Dark Heart of Europe by Giovanni Troilo. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

5 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition La Ville Noire, the Dark Heart of Europe by Giovanni Troilo. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

La Ville Noire

After the shameful sequence of events at the World Press Photo 2015 – from which no one came out clean, but someone dirtier than others –, presenting the offending show by Giovanni Troilo in Cortona has the taste for the request of clarity with regard to what, rightly or wrongly, is considered the most important competition in the field of international photojournalism. If the home page of the WPP website nowadays appears prominently marked «We inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism» it was probably necessary that someone would in some way throw a stone into a pond with a high risk of putrefying. It does not seem completely random that in addition to Troilo’s exhibition there was a talk at the Palace Vagnotti conducted by David Campbell (Research Consultant at the World Press Photo Foundation and Secretary of the World Press Photo Contest 2014) entitled World Press Photo Contest 2016: Questions of Ethics and Manipulation. During the meeting they explained the criteria introduced in the new regulations (currently still in draft form) of the WPP. A dutiful act, hanging in the balance through the necessities to establish rules with undefined outlines. A necessity that you cannot fail to note, which in fact clash more often than not with a reasonable level of obtuseness, inevitable however when you try to summarise in a rule, the infinite possibilities of variables that the world of image can offer.
So far I have not mentioned the exhibition, which should be the subject of these lines. And I have not done so because really on the exhibition itself there is little to say, the photos have been seen and seen again, thanks to the media provoking the controversy, which rose. On a purely personal level the way in which Troilo works is not a way to photograph, it fascinates me, but the author's ability to manage the photographic set is beyond dispute. Certainly many have noticed the absence of the photograph that kicked off the first controversy. Necessary act? Prudence? From my point of view it is altogether unimportant.
In fact the exhibition, as is rightly so has not aroused popular reactions worth noting. That Troilo is a great photographer no one has any doubts and the motivations which provide the origin of his work are relevant. Beyond his personal and family involvement (the family in 1956 moved to Charleroi to work in the steel industry), the analysis that moves him is in no doubt of great interest. After two generations all has changed in the district of the Belgian town. The social discontent, perceptibly widespread, had become part of people's lives. The streets are increasingly more abandoned; the industrial areas are swallowed up by natural vegetation. Not even too slowly. On a measurement scale we are witnessing a process in action all over Europe. «Half of my family still lives there – says Troilo – and this explains the immediate and privileged access that I had inside the world captured by my photographs. With my pictures I provide my reality. I do not aim for a conclusion; I want people to start asking questions. This work counts on the active approach of the viewer, not on the passive one. Who looks has to vacillate».
Perhaps Troilo deserved to be judged with greater competence and perhaps even seriously by those who first caused the outcry and then threw him in the dust disappearing into thin air. [ S. I. ]

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LA VILLE NOIR, THE DARK HEART OF EUROPE
by Giovanni Troilo
Palazzo Ferretti | until September 27th, 2015
admission fee: 5,00 €

published on 2015-07-25 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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