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“An Invincible Summer ”: Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia

by /// June 7, 2022
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



In these days, Reggio Emilia is a “city of photography” and a place to be photographed as well.

The exhibitions featuring both great masters and young photographers act as privileged new points of view on images in dialogue with each other, with the environments hosting them and with the visitors’ eyes.

Fotografia Europea 2022, at its 17th edition, draws inspiration from the phrase coined by Albert Camus and from the inner strength that leads us towards that invincible summer at the very heart of humankind. The festival allows us to capture and interpret the complexity and interest of the communication by images: Reggio Emilia thus becomes an ideal set for a reflection on the world and for pondering the role of visual culture in this historical moment.

The artistic directors of the Festival, Tim Clark and Walter Guadagnini, selected the works by this year’s protagonists, putting together international outlooks and various forms of artistic sensitivity.

  • Nicola Lo Calzo Ernest con le rose di santa Rosalia, artista togolese. Villa Giulia, Palermo 2018, serie Binidittu © Nicola Lo Calzo / Podbielski Contemporary
  • Hoda Afshar Untitled, from the series Speak the Wind, Iran (2015-2020) © Hoda Afshar
  • Guanyu Xu The Dining Room, 2018 © the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery
  • Alexis Cordesse Syria, 2003, Courtesy of the author
  • Luigi Ghirri Rimini, 1977 ©Eredi Luigi Ghirri
  • Alessandra Calò Herbarium. I fiori sono rimasti rosa, Reggio Emilia, 2022. ©Alessandra Calò
  • Carlo Valsecchi # 01135 Rotzo, Vicenza, IT, 2020, 2020, C-Print, plexiglass con/with dibond; 180 x 220 cm © Carlo Valsecchi Courtesy Collezione Maramotti
  • 2016, Osaka.
Jun (Photograph with acrylic and ink)

Where to start?

Well, first of all, if possible, let’s dedicate more than one day to the visit to savor every nuance, among ten venues and more than twenty exhibitions, lectures, workshops, guided tours and much more. Not to mention the proposals of the CIRCUITO OFF.

We can suggest you some hints to visit the Festival, but only you can discover and create original and unique visit itineraries, according to your own interests. Bring your camera or your smartphone with you, so as not to miss creative ideas.

The monumental Chiostri di San Pietro is the hub of the Festival, showing this year’s historical exhibition, dedicated to Mary Ellen Mark (Mary Ellen Mark: The Lives of Women, curated by Anne Morin), who produced vivid and ground-breaking photo essays that explore the reality of people, especially women, in complex situations, embracing their humanity, while providing her subjects with a meaningful voice.

Mary Ellen Mark Girl Jumping over a Wall, Central Park, Manhattan, New York, USA, 1967 © 1963- 2013 Mary Ellen Mark / Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY
Mary Ellen Mark Girl Jumping over a Wall, Central Park, Manhattan, New York, USA, 1967 © 1963- 2013 Mary Ellen Mark / Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY

This venue also hosts the exhibitions by Nicola Lo Calzo, with his project Binidittu, a reflection on the condition of migrants through the figure of Saint Benedict the Moor, the first black saint in modern history, and by Hoda Afshar, who reveals Iran in Speak the Wind, by photographing the wind, traditions and beliefs, thus forming a visible record of the invisible.

And the exhibition by Carmen Winant, Fire on World, as well as the one by the Japanese photographer Seiichi Furuya, who, in First trip to Bologna 1978 /Last trip to Venice 1985 tells the first and last trip he and his then-wife Christine Gössler made.

Then, there are the projects by Ken Grant (Benny Profane) and Guanyu Xu (in Temporarily Censored Home he transforms the conservative domestic space of his childhood into a scene of queer reclamation). Chloé Jafé in I give you my life narrates the story of the women of the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia); Jonas Bendiksen with The Book of Veles demonstrates visual disinformation can mislead even media professionals, while Alexis Cordesse in Talashi deals with the Syrian civil war through the personal photos taken by the exiles.

Jonas Bendiksen The Book of Veles, 2021 © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen The Book of Veles, 2021 © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

Next stop: Palazzo da Mosto, Doorway, by Jitka Hanzlová. The new Fotografia Europea production, entrusted to the Czech photographer, is a project showing the resilience of adolescents, in a transition moment, halfway between the past and future (i.e. the doorway in the title). At the Galleria Santa Maria the projects by the winners of this edition’s Open Call (Simona Ghizzoni, Gloria Oyarzabal and Maxime Riché) are on display.

Jitka Hanzlová Doorway, @ Jitka Hanzlová
Jitka Hanzlová Doorway, @ Jitka Hanzlová

Not to be missed: the partner shows

They are organized by the main cultural institutions of the city and hosted in their own spaces. On a different scale. Luigi Ghirri, Italy in Miniature and new perspectives (see the post dedicated to it on Travel ), for instance, at the Palazzo dei Musei, which hosts also Herbarium. I fiori sono rimasti rosa, by Alessandra Calò, Incontri! Arte e persone, a project by Reggio Emilia Città senza Barriere – STRADE.

At the Chiostri di San Domenico the 9th edition of Giovane Fotografia Italiana, a project by the Comune di Reggio Emilia (curated by Ilaria Campioli and Daniele De Luigi) dedicated to visual artists under 35, brought together the researches by Marcello Coslovi, Chiara Ernandes, Claudia Fuggetti, Caterina Morigi, Giulia Parlato, Riccardo Svelto, Giulia Vanelli. New in this edition is the establishment of the Luigi Ghirri Prize, in collaboration with the Luigi Ghirri Heirs Archive.

But we will be back soon to this issue.
In Her Rooms by Maria Clara Macrì is on at the Spazio Gerra, while the Biblioteca Panizzi shows the exhibition Vasco Ascolini: un’autobiografia per immagini (curated by Massimo Mussini) and the Collezione Maramotti dedicates its exhibition to Carlo Valsecchi. La Visita / Triptych by Arianna Arcara, a project Fondazione I Teatri, together with Reggio Parma Festival and in collaboration with Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara, entrusted to the artist, is on show at the Teatro Ariosto.

Vasco Ascolini Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Reggio Emilia 1979. © Vasco Ascolini
Vasco Ascolini Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Reggio Emilia 1979. © Vasco Ascolini

The Circuito OFF

The Circuito OFF, is an independent event, with a countless series of exhibitions throughout the city, that presents projects in shops, restaurants, studios, art galleries and parks, that turn into exhibition spaces, where photography plays a starring role.

Alongside the Speciale Samuela Solfitti, in collaboration with the Servizio Officina Educativa of the Comune di Reggio Emilia, with an exhibition at the Chiostri della Ghiara, there is the Max Spreafico Prize, whose winner (Stella Laurenzi) has the opportunity to stage a new exhibition during next year’s edition of Fotografia Europea.

The international Festival FOTOGRAFIA EUROPEA is promoted and produced by the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani in collaboration with the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and with support from the Emilia-Romagna Regional Council.

Fotografia Europea // XVII
An Invincible Summer
April 29 – June 12 2022
Reggio Emilia


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