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10.2.05

Mario Giacomelli (1925–2000) in Paris

I must have photography on the brain, or there are just a lot of good photography retrospectives to see right now. I have recently mentioned the André Kertész show at the National Gallery of Art (in my Winter/Spring Exhibit Preview) and the Giacometti/Cartier-Bresson show in Paris. (Thanks to Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes for the link on that.) There are two more photography exhibits at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France I wouldn't mind seeing:

The latter show was announced in the press by Agence France-Presse (Les "Métamorphoses" de Mario Giacomelli à la BnF, February 2), which calls the BnF show "a magnificent exhibit" dedicated to the Italian photographer. The article singles out his most famous works as the photographs of seminarians "who are running circles in the snow." According to the article, the show is organized in four stages: the metamorphosis of the real, an aesthetic of equivalence, theaters of the imaginary, and the unveiling of the world. It is a retrospective of 165 photographs, organized not by chronology but by visual theme. There is also a tiny English-language press announcement from Artdaily.com (Bibliotheque Nationale Presents Mario Giacomelli, February 1).

A longer review-article (Les prodiges de Mario Giacomelli, February 2), by Françoise Dargent for Le Figaro, gives a lot more information, so here's a partial translation:
Mario Giacomelli, The Seminarians of Senigallia


Other Giacomelli Images:

Robert Klein Gallery

Peter Fetterman Gallery

Artnet
They are dancing while holding hands, they laugh in front of the falling snow, they turn about like children enchanted by snowflakes. The seminarians of Senigallia in Italy were never supposed to come out from behind the anonymity that is their rule if a photographer came to shoot these moments of happiness. Mario Giacomelli was that photographer, a neighbor of the priests-in-training, a friend also, who on that winter day had brought along his camera. These photographs of the seminary of Senigallia have been framed all over the world and filled up many publications on the history of photography. We don't see the forest for this tree, a fleeting moment of joy captured in a work otherwise serious and like no other. You have only to go to the Bibliothèque nationale to see the exhibit devoted to the artist to enter into the world of Giacomelli, illustrious star of Italian photography, who died in 2000 in the village that he had never left.

The seminarians of Senigallia, the countryside of Senigallia, the beach of Senigallia, the old people of Senigallia, the children of Senigallia. For fifty years, the artist photographed his environment, a modest town in the Marche region facing the Adriatic. Armed with a broken camera, held together with Scotch tape, with no brand or pedigree, he photographed old age, sickness, suffering, the stigmata of the human condition, but also the earth and love. He photographed when he had the time, often on Sundays. The rest of the time, he worked in the printing shop where he had gotten started at age 12, permanently dropping out of school.
Mario Giacomelli: Métamorphoses will be at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France through April 30.

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