A day in Bologna, la dotta (“the learned”) – so-called for its University, among the oldest in Europe, but also an icon of Italian food excellence – to discover in eleven exhibitions, photography, places, and “food”.
Ando Gilardi, Giovani donne portano zucche sulla testa. Qualiano (Napoli), ottobre 1954. © Fototeca Gilardi
Bernard Plossu, Parigi, Francia, 1972 © Bernard Plossu
Hans Finsler, Senza titolo / Untitled, 1928, Courtesy Fondazione Rolla, Bruzella
Herbert List, Grandi tranci di tonno vengono puliti a mano e inscatolati / The big tuna steaks are trimmed by hand and placed into big tins, Favignana, Italy Courtesy of The Herbert List Estate / Magnum Photos
Jan Groover, Senza titolo / Untitled, circa 1988-1989 © Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne – Jan Groover Archives
Maurizio Montagna, Valsesiana AP #025, 2021 © Maurizio Montagna
Mishka Henner, Feedlots, Black Diamond Feeders, Herington Air Base, Kansas 2013 © Mishka Henner. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Bianconi, Milano
Takashi Homma, Chambéry, 2000/2010 © Takashi Homma. Courtesy Galleria Viasaterna, Milano.
Discovering the exhibitions
The event focuses on the food industry issue, by proposing through images different views on foods in terms of the primary need, documented/interpreted from the 1920s to the present day.
According to the Biennale’s artistic director Francesco Zanot:
“Food is a fundamental indicator to analyze and comprehend entire civilizations. The modalities through which foods are produced, distributed, sold, bought and consumed are constantly changing and therefore enclose certain distinctive characters of an epoque, a historical period or a social and cultural sphere. Food is language. Just like photography, food incorporates and shares messages”.
Eight + Three Masters
For the pleasure of discovery, let’s proceed by clues (just like Nero Wolfe would have done). So, we suggest you the authors’ names and the titles of their works, leaving you the task of a real treasure hunt of images and photographic contents within Foto/Industria 2021.
Fototeca, at MAST, is devoted to Ando Gilardi, an eclectic and prominent figure of the Italian history of photography; it includes photographic reportage and materials from the iconographic archive he founded in 1959.
The other exhibitions are spread over the centre of the town (in some interesting ad often historical locations), like Fisheye by Maurizio Montagna and Money must be made, on the biggest market in Lagos in Nigeria, by Lorenzo Vitturi.
There are also eight international artists, including Mishka Henner with In the Belly of the Beast, Hans Finsler, one of the fathers of objective photography in the 1930s, with Schokoladenfabrik (1928), Bernard Plossu (Factory of Original Desires) and Herbert List (Favignana, on tuna slaughter in the island in 1951).
Moreover, Takashi Homma (M + Trails); Henk Wildschut (Food, images of new technologies for the increasingly intensive and extensive food industry production); Jan Groover (Laboratory of forms) and Vivien Sansour (Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, on the protection of biodiversity).
And, as tradition, who takes interest in the exhibitions Foto/Industria proposes, do not miss the many events that accompany them: from guided tours with the artists in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna to talks, from workshops to activities for children.
Catalogue or cookbook?
Foto/Industria 2021 is accompanied by a “hybrid” publication, as Zanot says. It plays a twofold role: it’s both a catalogue and a functional cookbook, with the chef and writer Tommaso Melilli who interprets the images and themes of each exhibition in a series of original recipes.
Photography and the spirit of Bologna
All you need are a (paper or digital) notebook and a map, to jot down the suggestions offered by the authors’ interpretation of timeless though very topical materials, linked to issues like demographic change, climate change, and sustainability.
We invite you, at the same time, not to forget your camera and/or smartphone, because Bologna welcomes “the photography to be seen” while inviting everyone to live the city and its locations and to shoot walking past towers and monuments, capturing the spirit of the city. Among the many sights of interest there are the thousand (photographic) opportunities offered by the Porticoes of Bologna (including the Portico of San Luca: with its 3,796 m of length and 664 arcades is the longest portico in the world), just declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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