Balla and Dorazio meet in Lugano

Balla and Dorazio meet in Lugano

Giorgia Massari · 2 months ago · Art

The two masters of painting Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) and Piero Dorazio (1927-2005) meet in Lugano in the exhibition Balla ’12 Dorazio ’60 Dove la luce at the Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati Collection, open from Sept. 24 to Jan. 14, 2024. The exhibition, with the skillful curation of Gabriella Belli and masterful staging by architect Mario Botta, stems from Danna Olgiati’s great love for Dorazio, which inevitably brings her back to Balla. The real encounter between the two artists, the former a pupil of the latter, is to be found in light. Both, in different years, experience a narrow period of research on light. More precisely, Balla did so in 1912 with the Compenetrazioni iridescenti while Dorazio in 1960 with his famous Trame. “If we look at Dorazio’s textures we see an extraordinary work of painting, a superimposition of colors. Balla, on the other hand, goes in search of the essence of light.” – says Danna Olgiati during the Sept. 22 press conference-, “The two artists I could see them combining, so I asked Gabriella what she thought of this idea and she afterwards did everything. She envisioned the exhibition and then Mario Botta did the installation.” The exhibition Dove la luce is the story of an extraordinary elective affinity between these two great masters of twentieth-century Italian art and, as curator Gabriella Belli says, serves to “focus on important points in Italian artistic research.”

The theme of light

“Light was the great theme of the nineteenth century. It was a light that wanted to restore truth, reality. For these twentieth-century artists, on the other hand, starting with Balla, light is a scientific experience. So it is no longer necessary to represent truth but to represent truth. Truth through light.” explains Belli. In this sense, the Olgiati Collection exhibition becomes essential to investigate and thus to rediscover the great work done primarily by Giacomo Balla, which is still reflected in contemporary research. “In some way, the exhibition tells about how, and what, the Futurist legacy managed to bring into the second postwar period and to feed research by so many other artists. We are talking about artists who did research other than Dorazio, but even Emilio Vedova and Fontana himself owe a debt to the Futurism of these years and especially to that of Balla. If we think about the figures who still continue to say something in contemporary times, certainly of all the artists perhaps Balla is the one who still makes an impact today.” continued Belli during the lecture, during which she gave a real art history lesson, recounting that 1912 so crucial to Balla’s research. The artist began making sketches in which he took up the geometric form of the triangle, reinventing it, or rather, using it from a scientific perspective and making it somewhat magical. In his works from this period, it is as if the artist looked through a microscope at the refraction of light and synthesized it into this form, resulting in “an exercise in abstractionism.

Questa immagine ha l'attributo alt vuoto; il nome del file è 02.-Dove-la-luce-1024x783.jpg
Giacomo Balla, Compenetrazione iridescente radiale (Vibrazioni prismatiche) 1913-1914 ca. Tempera su cartoncino GAM – Galleria civica d’Arte Moderna e contemporanea. Su concessione della Fondazione Torino Musei © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich

Balla’s research in this field quickly petered out. These works will be hidden by the artist himself and will never be exhibited. It will be Dorazio around the end of the 1950s who will rediscover them. “For Dorazio we have chosen another topical date, 1960,” says Gabriella Belli, “That year Dorazio presents himself with a monographic room at the Biennale and chooses to exhibit the light plots. He chooses to exhibit the painting that made sense of the continuity of the line of Italian art. He makes a leap from Balla’s reconnaissance, amplifies and develops a scientific research by building a wonderful cycle of paintings. In a sense it is a homage and a conclusion to Balla’s research. They are lattices of light and color made with a light hand, diagonals weaving together. A wonderful weaving. It is a fabric of pure painting, of primary, complementary and secondary colors that intertwine with an extraordinary rhythm and consume all their energy within the frame of the canvas.”

Piero Dorazio Allo scoperto 1963 Olio su tela 162 x 114 cm Pinacoteca “Corrado Giaquinto”, Bari © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich

The exhibition and the installation

The Olgiati Collection boasts the presence of many works by Balla, but they are not featured here. Most of Balla’s Iridescent Compenetrations in the exhibition come from private and museum collections, particularly from Galleria d’arte Moderna in Turin and from the Mart in Rovereto. More than 20 specimens are on display, including the very valuable postcard addressed by Balla to his friend and pupil Gino Galli in November 1912 that attests to the first news of the new research on Compenetrazioni. Dorazio’s Trame also number more than twenty. Most significant are those works in which the grid breaks up and sharply changes chromatic register, as in Time Blind (1963) and Tenera mano (1963).

Mario Botta‘s installation helps create a dynamic dialogue between the works of the two masters. The genius of the design lies in the choice of colors and shapes. Most of Balla’s works are placed on a white background, inside a niche and positioned suspended. This helps to embellish and enhance these works, which are smaller in size than those of Dorazio. The latter, on the other hand, are placed on large black surfaces that help to enhance their textures.

An illustrated catalog edited by Mousse-Milan was produced for the exhibition.
More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Installation view photos © Studio Fotografico Enrico Cano Sagl

Balla and Dorazio meet in Lugano
Balla and Dorazio meet in Lugano
Balla and Dorazio meet in Lugano
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Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth

Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth

Giorgia Massari · 1 month ago · Photography

In an era characterized by the uncontrollable proliferation of digital images, selfies, and the widespread use of filters that distort the perception of the contemporary world, photographer Federico Hurth captures an authentic portrait of youth, but one that is burnt out. His project, titled Wasted Youth, is a true reportage, or as Federico himself describes it, «a personal photographic diary in which I collect snapshots of carefree moments.» His strictly analog shots depict faces, bodies, and situations, always following «a damned, fashionable, artistic, musical aesthetic.» In Federico Hurth’s shots, the melancholy and inner rebellion of a generation emerge. Some of the shots from the project, which Federico has been working on since 2021, will be exhibited at the Doppia V Gallery in Lugano from October 20th to November 17th, in an exhibition curated by Francesca Bernasconi.

Federico Hurth’s photographs are devoid of any post-production manipulation, «if a photo has a flaw, I keep it that way. Precisely to maximize the authenticity of the moment,» the photographer tells us. Wasted Youth offers a glimpse into fragments of youthful lives lived intensely but, at the same time, in a way that may seem “wasted,” in line with the title of his project. The aesthetic, which oscillates between the glitter of glamour and the darkness of decay, reflects the complexity and uncertainty that the contemporary context offers to young people, who are at the mercy of looming precariousness.

In conclusion, quoting the words of curator Francesca Bernasconi, «Federico Hurth’s photographs are characterized by an intriguing immediacy and an instinctive and decisive formal exploration, strongly linked to the revolutionary aesthetics that emerged in the 1990s through the work of a generation of photographers, often, like Hurth, straddling the worlds of fashion and alternative artistic scenes.»

Courtesy Federico Hurth

Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
Wasted Youth by Federico Hurth
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Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar

Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar

Anna Frattini · 1 month ago · Photography

We attended the unveiling of Lavazza’s new calendar, a project that takes us into an uncharted Africa, brimming with energy, experimentation, and a forward-looking spirit influenced by its culture and the diverse communities that inhabit it. Three photographers collaborated on this year’s calendar: Thandiwe Muriu from Kenya, Aart Verrips from South Africa, and the latest addition, Daniel Obasi, whom we had the privilege to interview. The theme of Africa as the birthplace of coffee remains strong, linked to the Giuseppe and Pericle Lavazza Onlus Foundation, founded in 2004 and now involved in thirty-three projects across three continents. With Nigerian roots and a holistic approach to photography, Daniel Obasi is a creative talent who seamlessly blends fashion styling, cinema, photography, and art direction to create captivating and distinctly African narratives. Here’s our interview with him.

How did you first get into photography?
I started photography because of my background in design, and for a while, I also dabbled in fashion styling. That’s when I got into photography. Additionally, I had an eye for certain subjects, and the practice of photography attracted me in a unique way. Working with other people was often challenging for me, so I decided to learn how to take photos on my own to share my exact vision with the world. For me, it’s more about a concept and an idea, which is at the core of my holistic approach to creativity.

How do you manage to blend art direction, fashion photography, and your work as a director?
By approaching each practice in a holistic way and considering them as one, it’s easier to navigate. I don’t think of them as separate components but rather focus on the end goal.

How do you apply Afrocentrism to fashion photography? Can it be seen as the primary vehicle for promoting messages of inclusivity and cultural appreciation?
Absolutely. The concept of Afrocentrism and photography go hand in hand, and in this context, we can also recognize fashion as an art form. Moreover, you can see how it’s all connected to a certain cultural background. There’s also another aspect that brings a bit of your history into it. Of course, it’s not what’s needed in every shot, but in some cases, it gives you a good idea of the process behind the photos I take.

How did you accept the commission for Lavazza’s calendar project?
On an ordinary day, I received an email from Lavazza’s team. I waited for a week and then decided to propose the concept of working together, of unity. Everything started from the photos that depicted the young people together on the beach. I’m a big fan of simplicity, and sometimes the most astonishing images come from the simplest ideas. These images, which centralize the theme, are, in my opinion, the most powerful because beneath all those layers, the simple idea of working as one shines through.

What are your primary sources of inspiration in photography, cinema, and fashion?
My inspiration always changes depending on where I am. Currently, I’m more interested in architecture and composition, so I’m trying to improve the way I use space. I’m studying Bauhaus, Gothic architecture, and the movement. Additionally, choreography and contemporary dance – actually, all forms of dance – are a significant source of inspiration for me. Love, the idea of being loved, losing love, and being in love also fascinates me greatly at this moment.

Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
Daniel Obasi’s Vision of Africa in Lavazza’s New Calendar
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Baran’s emotional portraits

Baran’s emotional portraits Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

Click when words fail is the name that the photographer Baran uses on social media and on her website. This phrase says a lot about her and her research. Words are often unable to return an emotion, communicate a feeling, or express it in the right terms. A photograph can do that. This happens to Mah (Baran) Mohammadasghari, a young Iranian photographer who immigrated to Canada, who begins to photograph as a therapeutic act. Her photographs, also published on Photo Vogue, are an authentic emotional and personal portrait. Her story and pain are reflected in every shot, whether it’s a self-portrait or a street photo. «I imagine my emotions and stories in a photographic way» says Baran that with her photographs she is able to convey human vulnerability and fragility.

Below each post of Baran, the photographer leaves a description always touching. A visual and narrative story of an emotion and it does so in a totally intimate and without filters. We had the pleasure of talking with her on the occasion of the exhibition Photography held last September at the Fondazione Matalon in Milan. The story that communicates with the shot on display is emblematic of her photographic research. «This shot is part of a self-portrait project called Bereavement, which I started after my mother’s death five months ago. In this photo I am with my cat, Toranj, who has been with me for 14 years.» Baran tells us, «I adopted her when I was in Iran and she also immigrated to Canada with me. We spend a lot of time together, as in this photo, especially when I don’t feel good emotionally and she understands it perfectly and is with me as much as I want.» The loss of her mother and the pain she suffered are recurring in Baran’s shots, as in my mom is back as a bird – the shot published by Vogue – which tells the moment when “she saw her mother fly away from the window“. «I saw her flying out of the window… forever… and I died… forever… It was 3 AM or 2 AM… I do not really recall… two days ago … or three … well feels like… 2 million years ago in my scattered heart…»

Scatto in mostra a Photography 2023
Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Mah (Baran) Mohammadasghari (@clickwhenwordsfail)

Courtesy Baran

Baran’s emotional portraits
Baran’s emotional portraits
Baran’s emotional portraits
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Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman

Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman

Anna Frattini · 1 month ago · Photography, Style

In Hamburg, there is an exhibition dedicated to Cindy Sherman‘s relationship with the world of fashion, titled ANTI-FASHION. The exhibition is taking place at the Falckenberg Collection, specifically at the Deichtor Hallen Internationale Kunst und Fotografie Hamburg. This exhibition traces the career and commissions of the American photographer by major brands and magazines. Chanel and Stella McCartney are just two of the brands that, along with some industry magazines, have commissioned Cindy Sherman for some of the photographs on display.

cindy sherman
 Untitled #462, 2007/2008 Private Collection Europe

The impressions created by Sherman in her photographs are far from glamorous, sexy, or elegant. Her work features subjects that are not traditionally desirable, and it certainly goes against the grain. Sherman uses fashion photography as a starting point to closely examine themes such as sex, gender, and age, demonstrating, but not limited to, these topics. Through the multitude of characters she portrays, Cindy Sherman shows us how the concept of identity is ever-changing and constantly evolving. In the accompanying critical text for the exhibition, the concept of (self-)constructed identity is discussed, which is a fluid concept that continues to challenge us even today.

cindy sherman
Untitled #602, 2019 Gilles Renaud Collection

There are numerous national and international contributions to this exhibition, the first dedicated to fashion in Cindy Sherman’s photographs. It includes 50 photographs from five decades of her career. ANTI-FASHION, curated by Alessandra Nappo, offers a unique opportunity to discover an unexpected aspect of Cindy Sherman, unveiling the influences and inspirations that the photographer has brought to the fashion world and how this influence continues to inspire entire generations of photographers.

cindy sherman
 Untitled #133, 1984 Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

The exhibition will remain open until March 3, 2024. Here you can find more informations on ANTI-FASHION.

ph. © Cindy Sherman

Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
Fashion Photography According to Cindy Sherman
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