ESSERE UMANE Great photographers tell the world

Extraordinary women with camera in hand. This is the common thread of the exhibition at the San Domenico Museums in Forlì until January 20, 2022. Thirty authors and 310 works form the focus of the exhibition curated by Walter Guadagnini, conceived and created in collaboration with Monica Fantini and Fabio Lazzari. The imposing mass of shots that fill the walls of the museum itinerary comes from archives preserved in different countries and represents one of the aspects that make this cultural initiative special. Since its inauguration in September, “Essere Umane” shines in the firmament of artistic events, in Italy and beyond. The record it aims at coincides with the title of the first and most important international exhibition on “female” photography. To make the most of this exceptional material, the organizers opted for a setting that follows the timeline. The exhibition is divided into three blocks. The first covers the part of the last century between the 1930s and 1950s. Alongside the reports on the American Great Depression by Dorothea Lange, the shots of Lee Miller in Hitler’s apartment at the end of the war. Tina Modotti’s photographic evidence of the Mexican period contrasts with the carefree charm of the narrative paintings immortalized by Ruth Orkin, mirror and memory of an Italian tourism that was once. In a few steps you can completely change scenery. Chapter number 2 of “Essere Umane” preserves the best of the photographic language achieved between the 1960s and 1980s. Here there are numerous Italian interpreters. If Carla Cerati guides the observer through a carousel of characters and environments of the cocktail parties in Milan, Lisetta Carmi describes the transgender community that lived in the former Jewish ghetto of Genoa. By Letizia Battaglia, on the other hand, images are offered on the murders of the mafia and on the girls of Palermo, both of which are linked to the hometown and to the artist’s career. Here too some of the most prominent exponents of national photography meet foreign colleagues. Two names for everyone: Inge Morath with her famous “Mask series” and Annie Leibovitz, author of the portraits of thirteen successful women that ended up in the revolutionary 2016 Pirelli Calendar. The final part of the exhibition itinerary is anchored to current events, from the 1990s onwards. A final sprint that hosts personalities such as photographer and LGBTQi rights activist Zanele Muholi and Newsha Tavakolian, member of the Magnum agency. Silvia Camporesi’s project from Forlì contains the chronicle of the recent lockdown to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The works by Cristina De Middel and Cao Fei close this universal anthology of photography champions almost with a question to the future. For a few more weeks, passionate and curious people have the opportunity to experience a unique and ambitious visual experience in Forlì. We move in time, retracing about a hundred years of history, art, society through often iconic images, but we also move in space, more precisely around the whole world. In front of the latest shot of “Essere Umane”, the works of the best photographers of all time buzz in the head like a swarming swarm. It is culture that pushes: while reflection is activated and emotions are deposited, the subject and object of looking are reversed. Almost as if those extraordinary women with cameras in hand studied us from the beginning to the end of the tour. Surgical and very skilled gazes in not getting noticed, to capture each one in his own unrepeatable humanity.

 

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