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Fotografia Europea 2024 : ‘Nature Loves To Hide’ in Reggio Emilia


Fotografia Europea is back, as always with new suggestions. From 26 April to 9 June, the 19th edition of the festival is on in the city of Reggio Emilia (Emilia Romagna) and winds its way between the institutional venues (with more than 20 exhibitions) and those of the Circuito Off, following a precise thread: Nature Loves to Hide, according to a fragment by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

The festival explores the connections between man and nature and the transformations human beings can make. The works by both established photographers and young talents invite us to reflect on pressing critical issues. Indeed, reality is perceived as multiple and mutable, fragmented and limited.

As Nature Loves to Hide is the theme chosen by the festival’s artistic board, made up of Tim Clark, Walter Guadagnini and Luce Lebart, Fotografia Europea 2024 aims to capture nature by exploring how concealment and discovery are linked. Photographers, like all of us, look for the essential character of the things that inhabit this world of ours, human beings and clouds included. It is the translation into images of the sense of discovery that is inherent in all of us: the attempt to uncover nature and understand ourselves and the world around us that has fascinated mankind since its earliest days.

So, with the map in hand, we suggest you take part in the festival, following the meaning of the paradox expressed in the fragment by Heraclitus, which embraces the power of a nature that so often conceals it from us, while revealing it more and more destructively, in a constant oscillation between being and becoming.

Palazzo Magnani is hosting Mediations, the first retrospective in Italy of the work by Susan Meiselas, the American photographer best known for her work in the conflict zones of Central America (1978–1983) and, in particular, the Nicaraguan revolution. The exhibition is made up of a selection of works from the 1970s to the present day and through the various forms that Meiselas has adopted to expand her work (traditional photojournalism, installations, books and films), constantly questioning the status of her own images in relation to the context in which they are perceived.

The next stop is the Chiostri di San Pietro, which houses some ten exhibitions in its 16th-century rooms. We will leave you to discover them, offering only a suggestion of the titles, which are significant in themselves. Let’s start with the group show Sky Album. 150 Years of Capturing Clouds, a proposal by Archive of Modern Conflict, with more than 150 works dating back to the early days of photography that tell the fascination of cloud imagery. Next, Helen Sear’s exhibition project Within Sight and Sea of Cortez by Yvonne Venegas and Bruno Serralongue, with Community Gardens of Vertus, Aubervilliers. Indian photographer Arko Datto sheds light on climate catastrophe issues and the refugees they generate with his project The Shunyo Raja Monographies on the Bengal Delta area, while Matteo de Mayda presents There’s no calm after the storm. Jo Ractliffe’s exhibition, Landscaping, is dedicated to the South African landscape; Natalya Saprunova in Permafrost tells the life of the populations in the far north of the Asian continent. Terri Weifenbach in Cloud Physics explores the vital connection between our planet’s clouds and the forms of its biological life; An Act of Faith: Bitcoin and the Speculative Bubble by Lisa Barnard deals with the creation of bitcoins: digital goods that, although immaterial, have enormous environmental costs.

At Palazzo da Mosto this edition’s commission project is on display along with an exhibition dedicated to photobooks and the two winning Open Call projects. So here you can see there the project day by day by Karim El Maktafi, Index Naturae, curated by Stefania Rössl and Massimo Sordi, as well as the Open Call selected projects: Shifters by Marta Bogdańska and Nsenene by Michele Sibiloni. Villa Zironi, a jewel of Art Nouveau architecture, hosts the exhibition Radici, by Silvia Infranco.

The context is obviously the Anthropocene, investigated at both hyper-local scale and planetary scales. The issue deals with the ideas of climate emergency, symbiosis and sustainability. The same is explored in the partner exhibitions surrounding the festival, organised by the city’s main cultural institutions.

At the Palazzo dei Musei, Luigi Ghirri. Zone di passaggio, curated by Ilaria Campioli, proposes a reflection on the theme of darkness and night, and the role that both play in the collective imagination. Also on show is an exploration of the Discrete semi-darkness in the works of several well-known international photographers.

Contaminazioni (curated by Ilaria Campioli and Daniele De Luigi) is the result of the open call of Giovane Fotografia Italiana #11 | Premio Luigi Ghirri 2024, promoted by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, in partnership with several international festivals.

The Biblioteca Panizzi proposes the interpretations by Paola De Pietri and Walter Niedermayr of the River Secchia’s expansion basins from La collezione di Linea di Confine a Reggio Emilia, association based in Rubiera, that carried out photographic surveys of the regional and national territory from 1990 to 2023. New Theaters of the Real. Collaborating with AI is on at Spazio Gerra.

The Collezione Maramotti is displaying Silvia Rosi’s exhibition, entitled Disintegrata. Then there are Speciale Diciottoventicinque, the training project promoted by Fotografia Europea, the third edition of the FE+SK Book Award, the prize dedicated to photographic books, meetings with artists, book signings, portfolio readings and much more. Like the third edition of Fotofonia, the musical side of Fotografia Europea, curated by Max Casacci and the Circuito Off, the collective and independent event that enriches the festival with exhibitions all over the city, with projects by professional photographers and young people, enthusiasts and associations (including the OFF@school project).

Fotografia Europea 2024 is promoted and organised by Fondazione Palazzo Magnani and the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, with support from the Emilia-Romagna Regional Council.

 Paola Sammartano


FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA 2024: ‘Nature Loves To Hide’
26 April – 9 June, 2024
Reggio Emilia

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