The word “global” has dominated the first twenty years of the new millennium, and “Prospettive” has immediately tuned in to this wave, becoming a cycle of exhibitions in which economy, culture and geography are brought together. On the other hand, photography has contributed since its birth to make the world smaller, as well as the new means of communication and transport: the surprise of seeing, comfortably seated in the armchair at home, the wonders of a world previously unknown – or told only through the words of adventurous witnesses – has been as decisive for the shaping of the contemporary world as the discovery of the telegraph or the railway (to mention two inventions more or less contemporary to that of photography). For seven years, the walls of this corridor have been filled with images that have shown, through different photographic languages and mental approaches, the metropolis of the Far East and the immensity of the American continent, the cultural stratifications of Iran and the vitality of an African capital such as Lagos; in short, they have brought to the heart of Turin images and thoughts born and made thousands of miles away, in that magical overlapping of times and places that the invention of photography has granted to man.

Nothing is easier, than imagining a sort of trip as the summary exhibition of this cycle of shows, not marked, however, by geographical or temporal stages, but conceived as the journey of an external gaze on the earth, as the exploration of our continent by an eye and a mind that gradually discovers forms and reasons for the earth and the presence of man on it. The exhibition opens then with the sphere of Noémie Goudal, perhaps another planet, or perhaps our planet seen from the outside; a view from above, like those of Olivo Barbieri and Mishka Henner, the former concentrated on the city with its inextricable tangle of streets and buildings, the latter on a portion of land apparently natural, actually exploited by man to allow the life of cities like Shanghai. This diptych is also an ideal place of transition between the human vision – that of the camera used by Barbieri – and that of the machines – the satellite shots from which Henner’s work is taken. Present and future of a journey that takes human scale again with the images of Walter Niedermayr and Francesco Jodice, as if the shuttle from space were landing, better defining the shapes and silhouettes of the cities, up to the moment when we hit the ground with another image by Jodice, in which technology and nature literally (and also ironically) merge in the continuity of the mountain profile, between reality and its representation.

From this moment on, the human figure appears, the journey passes from the landscape dimension to the portrait dimension, starting from Liu Bolin’s unbreakable and paradoxical connection: is it the man who has become part of the landscape and history, or is it the landscape and history that have become part of the man? In any case, the face is the central element of this vision, since it implies the affirmation not only of an individuality, but also of an identity, always questioned, always changing like the world itself, which can be seen in Zanele Muholi’s images. And here, then, is the globality of the vision that first presents us with Cristina de Middel’s imaginary astronaut (who, perhaps, is the narrator of this story) and finally the mysterious figure of Lorenzo Vitturi, whose features are hidden from us but whom we imagine as a synthesis of all the characters encountered along this journey inside an enchanted corridor.

Walter Guadagnini

A project curated by Tosetti Value per l’Arte

Noémie Goudal
Station I, 2015
Courtesy Edel Assanti

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April 2021 / October 2021