As part of the PhotoSaintGermain festival, the Italian Cultural Institute has chosen to exhibit Gianni Berengo Gardin, one of the great masters of contemporary Italian photography, who has traveled Italy and the world for more than half a centuryc collecting the innumerable traces of a constant becoming reality. His extraordinary clichés, where poetry and anthropology unite, have always grasped the deep truth of things, one that goes beyond the purely documentary dimension of the image, in the name of an almost demiurgic conception of photography. His images always reveal and transmit the essence of a situation, an encounter or a place, showing values and details at first glance almost invisible.
This exhibition offers a rich selection of 60 photographs, taken between 1957 and 2009, devoted to the theme of the festival in Italy. Traveling around the Peninsula, Gianni Berengo Gardin surveyed a world of balls, rites, games and celebrations, showing in his photos both the moment of the collective ritual and the individual dimension of a fundamental experience of human life. His images in black and white, of great intensity, deal with an Italy that has perhaps today almost completely disappeared, swept away by the waves of a tumultuous modernity that nothing can stop.
But it is precisely for this reason that these photographs, which are at first a precious testimony of the recent history of Italy, also tell us something of the character of this country, which tries to exorcise, in moments of crisis, fear and anguish through the intoxication of the holiday, whether religious or pagan. Perhaps because the desire to feel that one participates in a collective immanence, here and now, makes it possible not to remain prisoner of the uncertainties of the present and the fears of the future. In short, the shots of Berengo Gardin remind us that men need the party, because in the party, they feel closer to each other.
Gianni Berengo Gardin was born in Santa Margherita Ligure in 1930. He started taking up photography in 1954. After living in Rome, Venice, Lugano and Paris, he moved to Milan in 1965 where he began his professional career. He devotes himself to the photography of reportage, social investigation, architecture and environmental description. He collaborates with major Italian and foreign newspapers, but is mainly dedicated to the production of books, with more than two hundred and fifty photographic works to his credit. His first photos were published in 1954 in the weekly Il Mondo, directed by Mario Pannunzio. He works diligently with the industry (Olivetti, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, IBM, Italsider, etc.), producing corporate reports and monographs. He has received many awards, in particular in 2008 in New York, the prestigious Lucie Award to the career, awarded previously to great photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Willy Ronis, and, in 2014, the Kapuschinski Award for the Reportage. He has presented more than 300 solo exhibitions in Italy and abroad. His images are part of the collections of museums and important cultural foundations.
The archives and the work of Gianni Berengo Gardin are managed exclusively by the Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia.
Gianni Berengo Gardin: Festivals, balls, rites, and celebrations throughout Italy
Exhibition of photos from November 7 to December 6, 2018
Curator: Giulia Cogoli
In collaboration with the Fondazione Cassa Di Risparmio di Pistoia e Pescia; Pistoia Dialoghi sull’uomo and Contrasto editions
Free admission, from Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and from 3pm to 6pm, as well as in the evening during cultural events
Institut culturel italien de Paris
50 rue de Varenne 75007 Paris France
November 07, 2018 to December 06, 2018