The Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice presents the large retrospective “Mario De Biasi. Photographs 1947-2003”, dedicated to one of the greatest Italian photographers, tireless storyteller of the world, Mario De Biasi. The exhibition, which traces the entire production of the photojournalist, from the beginning of his collaboration with the magazine Epoca to the latest works, is curated by Enrica Viganò in collaboration with the Mario De Biasi Archive, organized by Civita Tre Venezie with Admira and promoted by the Fondazione di Venezia.
As a result of the immense research in the De Biasi archive, the exhibition collects 256 photographs, half of which unpublished, and proceeds diachronically by thematic nucleus through ten sections, passing through the story of great historical events, exotic travels, portraits of powerful and famous characters, scenes of everyday life, anonymous faces, leading to the conceptual and the abstract. “It was time! – observes the curator Enrica Viganò. There was a need for an anthological exhibition that would celebrate Mario De Biasi’s talent in all its facets. The neorealist amateur photographer, the Epoca photojournalist, the witness of history, the celebrity portraitist, the explorer of near and distant worlds, the visual artist, the interpreter of mother nature, the compulsive and creative designer. All his work is a hymn to life ”.
Among the many unpublished works, the Casa dei Tre Oci exhibits, for the first time, the entire sequence of De Biasi’s most famous and probably most loved photography: Gli Italiani si voltano, made in 1954 for the weekly magazine Bolero Film and chosen by Germano Celant as the guiding image of his exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968”. A gorgeous Moira Orfei dressed in white strolls through the center of Milan, attracting the gaze of a group of men.
The 50s of the twentieth century are one of the focal points of the exhibition with images of an Italy devastated by war, where, however, the desire for rebirth and reconstruction is captured; memorable views of New York; or the close-up perspective of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, under the gunfire, which wounded De Biasi and earned him the title of Italiano Pazzo. They are visual passages “from a twentieth century that today appears far away – points out Denis Curti, artistic director of the Casa dei Tre Oci – but which never ceases to stir curiosity”.
Two incredible reportages date back to 1964, which testify to De Biasi’s obstinacy: the one in Siberia, with temperatures below 65 degrees, and the one among the erupting lava tongues of Etna. There is no lack of moments of lightness and daily intimacy, which De Biasi investigated in all the five continents, with photos of kisses, street barbers and lunch breaks taken from London to Paris, from Rome to Vienna, from Cairo to Tehran , from Thailand to Brazil, from Israel to Nepal.
Also on display are the images of the moon landing, his most famous portraits, including those of Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Fellini, Maria Callas; some of his countless trips, particularly to Hong Kong, South America and India. The last section focuses on the love of nature, of which forms and signs are revisited, photographed as a sort of “visual poetry”.
Alongside the photographs, many different materials, books, the original issues of Epoca magazine, some telegrams, including those of Enzo Biagi and Arnoldo Mondadori, notebooks and two audiovisual insights will be exhibited. Laura Leonelli’s interview in which Mario De Biasi talks about his experience as a photographer and a projection of images, selected by his daughter and head of the Archive, Silvia De Biasi, with the Epoca series entitled The wonders of the world.
Besides being a great photographer, Mario De Biasi, was passionate about art and painting, he was also an original draftsman. A universe of strong colors and infinite fantasy will “cover” the Casa dei Tre Oci, restoring stylistic continuity to the set-up along the three floors of the neo-Gothic building with the depiction of suns, eyes, heads and hearts. “The Casa dei Tre Oci is a marvel for the eyes, in itself – declares Enrica Viganò. And its complex and versatile structure stimulates us curators to invent new solutions for the exhibition itinerary. The De Biasi exhibition is spectacular in all its originality and richness of content. ”
Exhibition curated by Enrica Viganò
Mario De Biasi – Photographs 1947 – 2003
until January 9, 2022
Casa dei Tre Oci , V enezia
Fondamenta Zitelle, 43, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
Mario De Biasi. Photographs 1947 – 2003
Marsilio Editori, 2021
catalogue edited by Enrica Viganò with essays by Enrica Viganò, Angelo Ponta and Denis Curti plus biographical notes by Silvia De Biasi
italian / english, 304 pages, € 50
Admira exclusively represents the photographer, artist and renown reporter of Epoca Mario De Biasi (Sois, Belluno, 1923 – Milan, 2013)