The via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
May 4, 2016

From 6th May to 10th July 2016, Reggio Emilia will host the 11th edition of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA, the festival promoted and organised by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, dedicated entirely to the art form that more than others communicates and interprets the complexity of contemporary society.

Exhibitions, conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events, hosted in the main cultural institutions and exhibition venues of the city, will be the ingredients of a rich programme of events featuring protagonists of photography, culture, and knowledge to stimulate an encounter between different expressions of creativity and thought.

Curated by an advisory committee composed of Diane Dufour (director of Le Bal, Paris), Elio Grazioli (University of Bergamo), and Walter Guadagnini (Accademia delle Belle Arti of Bologna), FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 revolves around the theme The Via Emilia. Roads, journeys, borders.

This year the reflection focuses on the theme of roads, starting from the major Roman road that runs “from the river to the sea” and extending to the byways of the world, the places of transit and borders in today’s society.

At a distance of thirty years, the theme revisits Explorations along the Via Emilia (1986), the collective project on the landscape curated by Luigi Ghirri with a group of photographers and writers who recounted the “face of a real country”, marking a significant page in contemporary photography.

At the Chiostri di San Pietro, one of the main hubs of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA, the exhibition 1986. Explorations along the Via Emilia, curated by Laura Gasparini, will present a selection of works – all shown on that historic occasion – by artists including Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Vincenzo Castella, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Vittore Fossati, Luigi Ghirri, Guido Guidi, Mimmo Jodice, Klaus Kinold, Claude Nori, Cuchi White, Manfred Willman, and the video by Nino Criscenti, with the aim to recreate the cultural climate of one of the most lucid and exciting experiences in the history of Italian photography.

The festival will be completed with the section 2016. New explorations, for which FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA has commissioned seven contemporary artists to conduct “new explorations” of the Via Emilia, bearing witness to the continuity of a commitment. This surprising journey, between reality and imagination, between documentation and invention, will make the 2016 edition of the festival truly unique. Photographers Alain Bublex, Stefano Graziani, Antonio Rovaldi, Sebastian Stumpf, Davide Tranchina, Paolo Ventura, and Lorenzo Vitturi are among the major players of the current national and international photography scene, and their images will no doubt be the most eagerly anticipated new element of FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016.

From the Via Emilia, the theme extends towards the roads of the world. The Chiostri di San Pietro will also host the exhibition Exile, presenting the work of 24 photographers from the Magnum agency. The images on display were taken by leading figures of photojournalism, including Werner Bischof, Robert Capa, Stuart Franklin, Paolo Pellegrin, Abbas, Chris Steele-Perkins, Philip Jones Griffiths, and Leonard Freed, just to name a few, in which the theme of exile is viewed as a one-way road from which there is no return, a condition of non-belonging, a place alien to one’s own history and culture. The exhibition begins with history and arrives at the tragic pages of current events.

The CSAC – Study Centre and Communication Archive of the University of Parma will propose the result of an investigation in the archives of its Photography Section. The exhibition Explorations of the Archive: The Via Emilia, photographs of the Via Emilia will display historical nuclei of prints from its collections, by Bruno Stefani and by important photography studios such as Studio Villani in Bologna and Studio Vasari in Rome, alongside the work of the protagonists of the new photography of the last quarter of the 20th century.

FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2016 – 11th edition
THE VIA EMILIA. Roads, journeys, borders
Reggio Emilia  6th May – 10th July 2016

Information: tel. 0522.456219

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