The exhibition

Great Magnum photographers document today's Italy, in a project promoted by Intesa Sanpaolo to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian Unity. An intriguing photo story, curated by Gianfranco Brunelli and Dario Cimorelli, already shown in the prestigious spaces of Palazzo Reale, Turin, and of the Gallerie d’Italia – Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, Naples, and at Casa Italia, London, during the Olympic Games, with the patronage of Coni.

The travelling exhibition is organized by Intesa Sanpaolo as part of Progetto Cultura, and it will be displayed in Vicenza, at Gallerie d’Italia – Palazzo Leoni Montanari, from the 21st September 2012 to the 20th January 2013.

The exhibition opens with Christopher Anderson, who focuses his lens on the Sea, the element that surrounds the peninsula and has given life to the history and civilisation of Italy. Donovan Wylie reflects on the New Walls that demarcate town limits, modern boundaries represented by ring roads and flyovers, industrial zones and landfills, marking what is now a completely man-made urban world. Together is the title of the section by Richard Kalvar, who offers a view of what unites Italy, in terms of shared spaces and common gestures that everyone can identify with: such as coffee at the bar, the ferragosto mid-August bank holiday by the sea, enjoying a pizza or the company of grandparents. Mikael Subotzky’s study zooms in on the New Squares, namely the gathering places, from shopping centres to discotheques, which seem to have replaced the old centre of public life - the town square. Mark Power, in his reportage devoted to Historical Places, takes a journey through the treasures of Italy, holder of a record number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. In Us, them, Bruce Gilden focuses our minds on the life of the “invisible” people who fill hospitals, prisons, shantytowns and soup kitchens. Harry Gruyaert’s contribution, entitled The Artificial, contemplates the difficult balance sought by modern society between progress and nature. Alex Majoli recalls the Ingenuity, the “savoir faire” found in factories, fields, labs and workshops, combining the very skill and creativity that forms the cornerstone of Italian production. The journey ends with Paolo Pellegrin’s portraits of 150 youths who are the faces of Italy’s future.

close X

Europe lays in the Mediterranean, Italy is “embraced by the sea.” The sea brings our history, the sea formed the basis on which relationships with the world were built, and it is the sea again into which we gaze in order to try and discover who we are. The sea is work, pleasure, untameable force, means of communication, resource, frontier and last resort. The sea is how we challenge our limitations, our fears and our utopias.

7.375 km
With 7.375 km of coast, Italy is the European country with the largest number of beaches. Thanks to the increase in environmental awareness by both citizens and institutions, the percentage of clean bathing resorts has risen over the last 17 years from 55% to 67%.

Source: Istat

“The good Aeneas am I call’d- a name, While Fortune favor’d, not unknown to fame. My household gods, companions of my woes, With pious care I rescued from our foes. To fruitful Italy my course was bent; And from the King of Heav’n is my descent”

Virgil, The Aeneid (I, 378-380)

Works presented in the exhibition
10 diasec-mounted color prints,
120 x 164 cm each

close X
Christopher Anderson

Canada, 1970

He first gained recognition for his pictures in 1999 when he boarded a handmade, wooden boat with Haitian refugees trying to sail to America. The boat, named the Believe in God, sank in the Caribbean. The images from that journey would receive the Robert Capa Gold Medal. They would also mark the emergence of an emotionally charged style that he refers to as “experiential documentary” and has come to characterise his work since.

In 2001 he receives the Kodak Young Photographer Award for his story about Gaza and the same year he obtains the Visa d’Or Award at the Visa pour L’Image in Perpignan. In 2005 he’s nominated NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year. Christopher explores the possibility of multimedia producing documentaries in Bolivia and Lebanon for Magnum in Motion. Together with other five photographers, he participates to the project Off Broadway that is exhibited in New York, Arles, Berlin, Sao Paolo and Milan. In 2002 he becomes a member of VU’.

He has served as a contract photographer for Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine photographing regions at war for much of the last decade. In recent years, his work has become intensely personal with his latest body of work, Son. Christopher is a member of Magnum Photos since 2005 and the author of two monographs: Nonfiction, published in 2003, and Capitolio, published in 2009 by RM and named one of the best photography books of 2009/10 at the Kassel Photo Book Festival in Germany. He lives in New York.

close X
New Walls

The vast majority of the Italian population lives in urbis, that is, within urban enclosures delineated by ancient city walls, agricultural or industrial areas, motorways, ring-ways and rubbish dumps. There are virtually no landscapes left in Italy that are not in some way urbanised. In its often fragmented and illegible state the city symbolises the new social condition; an analytical object through which to interpret contemporary changes. From everywhere it leads to anywhere and beyond. But – as Jean-Luc Nancy points out – out of the city rarely means the countryside, but rather that undefined non-city area which is becoming increasingly distant and increasingly re-urbanised.

In 1861 there were 7.720 municipalities in Italy. Today there are 8,094 but the actual population density has more than doubled: from 87 inhabitants per square meter during the time of the Italian Unification to 200 by the year 2010. Demographic growth and modernity have increasingly driven people to move to cities. Since the early 1980s in fact, 90% of the Italian population lives in urban centres. Since 1950 urban expansion in Italy has grown at a rate of about 250 thousand hectares per year.

Source: Istat

“Nothing quite new is perfect”

Cicero, Brutus

Works presented in the exhibition
30 digital Chromogenic color fine art
prints 15 prints 40 x 50 cm each,
15 prints 90 x 110 cm

close X
Donovan Wylie

Ireland, 1971

He becomes a full-time member of Magnum Photos in 1998. Solo exhibitions are held at: the Photographers’ Gallery, London (2004), the National Media Museum, Bradford (1996), the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007), and he has participated in numerous group shows including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

In 2011 he’s awarded the Bradford Fellowship Power’s work has been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the world and he has published five monographs: The Shipping Forecast (1996), Superstructure (2000), The Treasury Project (2002), 26 Different Endings (2007) and The Sound of Two Songs (2010).

Mark Power joined Magnum Photos in 2002, becoming a full member in 2007. In his other life he is professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

close X

What unites Italy?
Family, the education system, a coffee in a bar, football, TV, the importance of food, the pleasure in clothing, grandparents, August by the sea, Christmas at home, white weddings, the city square, the local market and those characteristic and common gestures that we all recognise. And above all the culture. The memory of ourselves that makes us both old and young. Where every innovation will become the next classic. Italy is united by Italians.

Since the Unification of Italy the rate of contentiousness of Italians has drastically decreased. If in 1880 the relationship between civil lawsuits and population counted 45.7 lawsuits for every 1,000 inhabitants, by 2008 the figure had more than halved standing at 23.2 lawsuits per 1000 inhabitants. In terms of crime, the record number of reports in 1926 went to theft (201.000), followed by fights and bodily harm, slander and libel, swindle and fraud. In 2009, although on a much larger scale (1.300.000 lawsuits), the actual order of classification was exactly the same.

Source: Istat

“Turn the behind, o Country of mine, and look at that infinite host of immortals”

Giacomo Leopardi, On Dante’s Monument, 1818.

Works presented in the exhibition
Photographic installation with 100 b&w fiber paper-based prints,
24 x 36 cm each

close X
Richard Kalvar

United States, 1944

After studying English and American literature at Cornell University from 1961 to 1965, Richard Kalvar works in New York as an assistant to fashion photographer Jerome Ducrot. It is an extended trip with a camera in Europe in 1966 that makes him decide to become a photographer. After another two years in New York, he settles in Paris and first joins Vu Photo Agency, before helping to found the Viva agency in 1972. In 1975, he becomes an associate member of Magnum Photos and two years later a full member, subsequently serving as vice-president and president.

In 1980 Kalvar had a solo exhibition at the Agathe Gaillard Gallery in Paris, and has since participated in many group shows. He published Portrait de Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (1993). A major retrospective of his work was shown at the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in 2007, accompanied by a book, Earthlings. He has carried out extensive personal, editorial and commercial assignments throughout the world, notably in France, Italy, England, Japan and the United States, and continues to work on a longterm project on the city of Rome.

Kalvar’s photographs are marked by a strong homogeneity of aesthetics and themes. His images frequently play on a discrepancy between the banality of a real situation and a feeling of strangeness that emerges from a particular choice of timing and framing. The result is a state of tension between two levels of interpretation, attenuated by a touch of humor.

close X
New Squares

Once upon a time Italian social life took place almost exclusively in city squares, in front of a church, around a fountain or a monument, in a street market. Today we are witnessing a process of despatialisation that redefines the logical structures around which social life is organised in space and time. Mobility and communication make it possible to transcend space without ignoring it. Hundreds of thousands of Italians take part in social, cultural or sport activities every day. Aggregation environments have multiplied according to needs, trends and consumption. And there is no place that has not been a setting for gatherings, happenings and events for all tastes and tendencies.

33,5 million
Seven out of ten Italians are aware of at least one social networking site and 33.5 million use them. The best known is Facebook (65% of Italians), but the most used is YouTube (54,5%). The most used internet services in Italy include road directions (38%), followed by online music (26%) and online banking (22%). Only one out of five Italians makes purchases online, and those who do prefer travel (18%) or books and DVDs (6%).

Source: Istat

“A city is said to be an assembly of people, a congregation drawn together to the end they may thereby the better live at their ease in wealth and plenty. And the greatness of a city is said to be, not the largeness of the site or the circuit of the walls, but the multitude and number of the inhabitants and their power. Now men are drawn together upon sundry causes and occasions thereunto them moving: some by authority, some by force, some by pleasure, and some by profit that proceedeth of it”

Giovanni Botero, (The Cause of the Greatness of Cities), 1588.

Works presented in the exhibition
34 digital Chromogenic color fine art prints: 24 prints 40 x 50 cm each,
2 prints 50 x 60 cm each,
8 prints 60 x 80 cm each

close X
Mikhael Subotzky

South Africa, 1981

Subotzky’s work has been exhibited widely in major galleries and museums, and his prints are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and FOAM (FotoMuseum Amsterdam).

Recent awards and grants include the 2011 Discovery Award at the 2011 Rencontres d’Arles, the 2009 Oskar Barnack Award, the 2009 Lou Stouman Award, the 2008 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant, the 2008 ICP Infinity Award (Young Photographer), and the 2007 KLM Paul Huf Award.

For the past four years he has been collaborating with the British artist Patrick Waterhouse on an extensive new body of work based in a single building in Johannesburg, Ponte City.

His previous body of work, Beaufort West, was published in book form by Chris Boot Publishers and was the subject of the 2008 exhibition, New Photography: Josephine Meckseper and Mikhael Subotzky at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

close X
Historical Places

From the Alps to the Pelagie Islands, Italy is a uniquely historical place. The historical richness of the Italian peninsula, the variety of its environmental settings and its polycentric existence are what make Italy a galassy of individual representations, of unique living environments. “Landscapes with human presence” in which the latter is not a guest of the former, and the former is not simply a setting for the latter, even for the most noble monument and the seemingly most uncontaminated landscape. It is always a question of tranche de vie, of a life – and therefore of a time that is both past, present and an inkling of a future – which has crept into the intimate weave of any situation, any circumstance, any vision. Nature and history interlace and shape our civilisations everywhere. They portray a “cultured” landscape, a spatial-temporal relationship that is primarily in the mind and spirit, involving both aesthetics and ethics. The fortune of living in Italy, of being Italian.

Italy is the country with the highest number of artistic heritage sites registered as World Heritage by Unesco: 95.000 historical churches, 40.000 forts and castles, 30.000 historical residencies with 4.000 gardens, 36.000 archives and libraries, 20.000 historical city centres, 5.600 museums and archaeological sites. In 1929 only 7% of Italians had visited museums, exhibitions or archaeological sites during the course of the year. Eighty years later Italians seem a great deal more interested in their artistic heritage – which in the meantime has more than tripled its patrimony – and 52% of the population undertakes at least one cultural visit a year.

Source: Istat | Ministry of Cultural Heritage

“This country of ours is made of places and provinces that, when they deeply touch the land, by resurgence find the greatness of their individual history and immediately become universal, at least as much as the big cities”

Francesco Arcangeli, Una situazione non improbabile (A not unlikely situation), 1957.

Works presented in the exhibition
Photographic installation in dyptichs and tryptichs with 48 color prints:
29 prints 47 x 61 cm each,
19 prints 61 x 78 cm each

close X
Mark Power

United Kingdom, 1959

As a child Mark Power discovers his father’s home-made enlarger in the family attic, a contraption consisting of an upturned flowerpot, a domestic light bulb and a simple camera lens. His interest in photography probably begins then, although he later chooses to study painting instead.

He ‘accidentally becomes a photographer’ in 1983, and works in the editorial and non-profit markets for nearly ten years, before he begins teaching in 1992. This move coincides with a shift towards long-term, self-initiated projects, which now sit comfortably alongside a number of large-scale commissions in the industrial sector.

Power’s work has been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the world and he has published five monographs: The Shipping Forecast (1996), Superstructure (2000), The Treasury Project (2002), 26 Different Endings (2007) and The Sound of Two Songs (2010).

Mark Power joined Magnum Photos in 2002, becoming a full member in 2007. In his other life he is professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

close X
Us, them

Invisible existences live their diversities in terminal illness wards, in prisons, in slums and in day shelter canteens for the poverty- stricken. Normal people go about their daily routines in streets, in markets and in parks. It is only a very fine line that separates these two living conditions. Simply being automatically incorporates expressions just passed. Answering to someone implicitly implies answering for someone. That other is my secret friend, part of my identity. The boundaries created by physical disability and by disease, as well as those created by social marginalisation, are often only barriers formed by selfishness, by the barbed wire of fear, shame and judgment. But there is also an increasingly widespread wisdom of love.

4 million
Four million Italians (8% of the population) undertake at least one volunteering activity a year, 826,000 people provide ongoing, voluntary assistance to charity associations and activities. The majority of volunteers are male with a medium to high level of instruction. Two thirds are social and health workers, while there is also an increase in activities linked to civil and environmental defence, education and sport. There are currently 40,000 voluntary associations registered by the National Volunteer Center. The third sector – excluding volunteers - counts 12,000 employees, 13,000 collaborators, 7,000 church operators, 9,000 young civil servants.

Source: Istat and National Volunteer Centre |

“I have learnt that the problems of others are the same as mine. Dealing with them together is politics, dealing with them alone is selfishness”

Don Lorenzo Milani, Letter to a teacher, 1967.

Works presented in the exhibition
27 b&w digital prints,
20 prints 40 x 50 cm each,
7 prints 110 x 165 cm

close X
Bruce Gilden

United States, 1946

Gilden’s curiosity for strong characters and individual peculiarities has been present from the beginning of his career. His first major project, Far from indulging in stereotypical exoticism, Gruyaert has a vision of faraway countries that locates the viewer within peculiar and somewhat impenetrable atmospheres.

In a different sphere he covered the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. In the same year he photographed some of the first Apollo flights as they were shown on a crazy television set. This project, which exploits the colors of the screen, appeared under the title TV Shots in Zoom. It was shown at the Delpire Gallery in 1974 and at Phillips de Pury & Co. in New York and as an installation in Paris during the Mois de la Photo, in 2008.

Gruyaert joined Magnum Photos in 1981. His book Made in Belgium was published in 2000, Rivages, a collection of portraits of shores around the world, in 2003, PhotoPoche in 2006, and TV Shots in 2007.

In his later work Gruyaert has abandoned the Cibachrome process in favor of digital print. Better suited to revealing the rich shades found in his films, digital print opens new possibilities for his work, bringing it one step closer to his original intention, namely to give color the means to assert its true existence.

close X
The artificial

Man’s ability to construct should not necessarily go against nature. When freedom and awareness take on the responsibility of power, technology ceases to be an imposition. We are gradually learning to think of the relationship between nature and culture, between being and respecting in a sustainable and compatible way. The major social and economic conflicts in recent times are often challenging the divergences between development and environment in issues such as the construction of a railway or a an electricity plant, for the management of waste or for the reclamation of an industrial area. We are constantly striving for a balance between “progress” and nature, between the artificial and freedom.

543 kg
Every Italian produces an average of 543 kg of waste a year. Of these only 30% is separated and recycled (45% in the North of Italy and 14% in the South and the islands). During the ten years spanning from 1996 to 2007, waste recycling in Italy increased from 7.2% to 30.6%.

Source: Istat

“Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written.”

Galileo Galilei, The Assayer, 1623

Works presented in the exhibition
Photographic installation with 35 colour photographies,
presented in 3 fine art Pigment print size 158 x 110 cm each

close X
Harry Gruyaert

Belgium, 1941

For more than thirty years, from Belgium to Morocco, and from India to Egypt, Harry Gruyaert has been recording the subtle chromatic vibrations of eastern and western light.

Gruyaert studied at the School for photo and cinema in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. He then became a freelance photographer in Paris, while working as a director of photography for Flemish television. In 1969 Gruyaert made the first of many trips to Morocco.

His total immersion in its colors and landscapes won him the Kodak Prize in 1976 and culminated in the publication of the book Morocco in 1990. He traveled to India for the first time in 1976 and to Egypt in 1987.

A recently completed project, Libera me, is a reflection on the human condition and turned into a book last winter. Alex Majoli lives and works in New York and Milan.

close X

In ancient crafts, as well as in the current era of the fourth industrial revolution, there is a certain savoir- faire that illustrates the aspirations and determination of men and women who shape the story of Italy through their work. The secret in workshops, fields, in heavy industry, in ports, in the food industry, among craftsmen, in manufactures and in the kitchen, is a blend of skill, innovation, passion and creativity, which gives life to made in Italy products and services: a style, a taste, a mental habitus symbolising the mark of a civilisation.


The international “Global Talent Index” lists Italy 24th out of sixty countries. Not a great position; Greece, Spain, South Korea and Ireland are all higher up the list. This is chiefly due to the lack of consideration given to scientific research and to the valorisation of young researchers, whether still training or already working. It is the Achilles Heel of our productive system. However, Italy still retains a top position with regards to the quality and services provided in junior and secondary schools.

Source: Global Talent Index, Heidrick & Struggles

“And so, straddling our baggage we approach the new millennium without expecting to find anything other than what we can bring into it ourselves”

Italo Calvino, American Lessons, 1988.

Works presented in the exhibition
33 fine art inkjet prints,
60 x 80 cm each

close X
Alex Majoli

Italy, 1971

At the age of 15, Alex Majoli joined the F45 Studio in Ravenna, working alongside Daniele Casadio. He then joined Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the conflict. He returned many times over the next few years.

In 1994 he made an intimate portrayal of the closing of an insane asylum on the island of Leros, Greece, a project that became the subject of his first book, Leros. In 1995 Majoli went to South America for several months, photographing a variety of subjects for his on-going personal project, Requiem in Samba. He started the project Hotel Marinum in 1998, on life in harbour cities around the world. That same year he began making a series of short films and documentaries.

After becoming a full member of Magnum Photos in 2001, Majoli covered the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and two years later the invasion of Iraq. He continues to document various conflicts worldwide for Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Granta and National Geographic.

Majoli, in collaboration with Thomas Dworzak, Paolo Pellegrin and Ilkka Uimonen, had an extremely successful exhibition and installation, Off Broadway, in New York in 2004, which traveled to France and Germany. He then became involved in a project for the French Ministry of Culture entitled BPS, or Bio-Position System, about the social transformation of the city of Marseilles.

close X

The future depends on the past. The future can penetrate the life of a society and a nation on the condition that the past, fixed as a living memory, leaves its doors open to the future. The “right way forward” for our future – which the president of Italy Giorgio Napolitano reminded us of in his 2011 augural message – is to “invest in new generations, to count on them and entice them to do their part whilst providing them with adequate opportunities”. Otherwise we risk remaining the oldest country in Europe, the one with the highest percentage of over 65 year-olds and under 15 year-olds. But what do 150 representatives of this “tomorrow” reply when asked “What is Italy?”

12 cm
Between 1872 and 1998 the average height of Italians registered at army medical checkup increased by 12 centimetres (from 161.6 cm to 174.6 cm). From the end of the 19th century to the present day the average life span of Italians has more than doubled: in 1881 life expectancy was 35 years both for men and women, in 2010 it was respectively 79 and 84 years.

Source: Istat

“Italy is the country that has made it possible for the old world to become modern”

Giorgio Bassani, Italia da salvare (1969-1980).

Works presented in the exhibition
Photographic installation with 150 photographs: 3 diasec-mounted color prints with 50 portraits in 180 x 245 cm each

close X
Paolo Pellegrin

Italy, 1964

After studying Architecture he decides to change career and study photography at Istituto Italiano di Fotografia in Rome. He meets Italian photographer Enzo Ragazzini who becomes his mentor.

Paolo Pellegrin becomes a Magnum Photos nominee in 2001 and a full member in 2005. He is a contract photographer for Newsweek magazine. Pellegrin is winner of many awards, including eight World Press Photo and numerous Photographers of the Year Awards, a Leica Medal of Excellence, an Olivier Rebbot Award, the Hansel- Meith Preis, and the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award. In 2006 he was assigned the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. He has published four books. His book As I was Dying received the Lucie International Photography book Awards and the Deutsche Fotobuchpreis in 2008.

He has participated in numerous group shows and held several solo exhibitions at, among others, the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C., The Photographers’ Gallery in London, and the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia in Milan. He is one of the founding members of the touring exhibition and installation Off Broadway along with Thomas Dworzak, Alex Majoli and Ilkka Uimonen.

In 2011 Paolo Pellegrin travels to Egypt and Tunisia to cover the revolutions in North Africa. He covers the Japan’s earthquake and tsunami destructions published in international magazines. With Jim Goldberg, Alec Soth, Mikhael Subotzky and Susan Meiselas he makes a road trip from San Antonio to Oakland for the Magnum project Postcards from America. He lives in New York and Rome.