There is a new prestigious venue dedicated to photography in Milan: it’s Palazzo della Ragione, a few steps from the Duomo and the fashion district. The Palace has been a symbol of the town since 1228, when it was decided to build this structure as the place where justice could be administered. It housed the city hall until the mid-700, when Maria Theresa of Austria turned it into a notarial archive. After having also been home to a bank, it was obtained in 1939 by the Municipality of Milan. In the last few decades it has been used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
Right now, the Municipality decided to dedicate this historical monument permanently to photography. An ad hoc venue, with a specific logo that allows to identify it immediately, confirming the renewed interest of the town in this form of communication and expression.
Ancient halls and art photography meet here, with an interesting contrast between past and present, although at a closer look (at the walls of the building) the frescoes depicting a thirteenth-century procession of citizens and soldiers, portrayed as if it were a snap-shot representation, seem to anticipate photography at this venue.
The careful renovation works on the Palazzo makes a point of its huge dimensions, taking advantage of its versatility thus offering chances of re-invention for each exhibit design. “This project is thought according to the Municipality idea of assigning a well-defined identity to all cultural location in the town, as a network of interconnected spaces, each of them with a specific function”, Filippo Del Corno, Culture councillor of the Municipality of Milan, says. The project is achieved thanks to the synergy among the Municipality of Milan and the private organizations of Civita, Contrasto and GAmm Giunti.
“Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia opens with Genesi by Sebastião Salgado, a work that deals with a responsible use of the resources of the planet as well as with a calling for an effective action to preserve the treasures of our Earth for the future generations. Indeed, despite everything, our planet still save a 45% of its original state”, Domenico Piraina, Palazzo della Ragione manager, says.
Genesi is the first event within the “new photographic deal” at Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia. The program will go on with exhibitions by William Klein ( ABC), Walter Bonatti (Nei grandi spazi), Edward Burtynsky (Watermark), James Nachtwey (Pietas).
Genesi, as Giuliano Pisapia, mayor of Milan pointed out, “has literally traveled around the world, but in the Milan it seems to raise to a deep sense of meaning, for it is just before the Expo, expanding the theme of sustainability. Salgado (…) dedicated his life to catch the soul of our planet, its origins, its development”.
There are 250 photos on stage, each of them telling of a photographic journey across five continents, as in an original atlas, a map of the planet. The work took more than eight years and 32 photographic campaigns, in order to get the most significant pictures of human beings, animals, plants that have been living (and still live) on it and which managed to change it so much. Genesi, curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado (open until November 2, 2014) gives a message, just before the Expo, on sustainability and on a more harmonious relationship with our planet, starting by the theme of feeding.
The exhibition is sponsored and organized by the Municipality of Milano-Cultura, Civita, Contrasto and GAmm Giunti and created by Amazonas Images. The venue is not accessible for wheelchair users. Catalogue published by Taschen; guide to the exhibit by Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia.
Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia
Piazza dei Mercanti