FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibition: April 3 through May 3, 2008
Slide Lecture by curator Enrica Viganò: Friday April 4, 6pm. RSVP required.
Steven Kasher Gallery is proud to present the first exhibition outside of Europe that surveys Neorealismo, Italian postwar photography. The exhibition features over 90 black and white prints by 19 Italian photographers working from the 1940s through the 1960s. Their work shares the concerns, innovations, and goals of Italian Neorealist cinema.
Neorealismo: Postwar Photography in Italy was curated by Enrica Viganò and is presented in collaboration with Admira, and with the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, New York, and Bar Milano. It is based on a larger traveling exhibition that has been seen at Centro Cultural de la Villa, Madrid; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich; Netherlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (currently).
Gilles Deleuze, Francoise Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, and many others have noted the extraordinary importance of Italian Neorealist cinema. It was the first cinema to rise out of the ashes of World War II and fascism, to shake off the dominance of Hollywood and create a new popular vision. The films of Visconti, De Sica , Rosellini, Fellini, and others developed an array of new paradigms and methods. These include non-professional actors, shooting on location, incorporating documentary footage, non- narrative structures, improvised sequences, open-ended conclusions. Neorealismo was the basis for the French New Wave and inspired American Direct Cinema and countless other filmmakers worldwide.
Italian Neorealist cinema and photography set out create a new Italian self-image that would bind a culturally diverse – and largely illiterate – nation. While foregrounding the pathos of poverty, homelessness, and joblessness, Neorealism was an extraordinarily optimistic project. It understood 1945 as a political, social, and artistic Year Zero. Its mission was to mirror the faces of Italian everyday life up and down the spine of the nation, reflecting them back to the people to educate them, unite them, democratize them. Images of the real seen on movie screens and as photographs in magazines, newspapers, books and exhibitions created an effective network of shared social conscience.
The social mission of Italian Neorealism can claim success. Today Italy is a cohesive, democratic nation of great social conscience. Americans rightfully admire their egalitarian and harmonious way of life. To us these photographs offer heartwarming and encouraging images. We see lives full of struggles survived, humane adjustments to modernity, small pleasures magnified into shared solidarities. Both the sensual and documentary harmonies of these photographs ring true.
The typical Neorealist photographic project was the documentary investigation of a locale. The resulting photographs were often edited and presented with accompanying text. Examples are:
Chiara Samugheo, The Possessed, Puglia, 1955
Pasquale De Antonis, Workers in the Asphalt Mine, Abruzzo, 1934 (an early progenitor)
Enrico Pasquali, Children of Comacchio, 1955
Mario Carbone (accompanied by Carlo Levi), Lucania, 1960
Ugo Zovetti, The Expansion of Milan, 1960
Fulvio Roiter, Sicily, 1953
Stanislao Farri, Reggio Emilia, 1946-1960s
The photographers in Neorealismo: Postwar Photography in Italy are:
Pasquale De Antonis
Mario De Biasi
Sante Vittorio Malli
Neorealismo: Postwar Photography in Italy will be on view from April 3rd through May 3rd, 2008. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm. For more info or press requests please contact Kat Jones at 212.966.3978 or firstname.lastname@example.org