‘ItaliAE’ is an exhibition conceived to convey the beauty and variety of Italy, its landscapes, its creativity and its people through photography. A plural Italy, on which over time of the gaze of photographers with very different tones, techniques and styles has fallen, careful to capture the country’s mobile and complex identities, its traditions as well as its subtlest lines of evolution.
A composite anthology of shots – over 160 images taken from historical and contemporary archives – retraces a century and a half of history, recreating an ideal gallery of portraits and memories, witnessing the extraordinary vitality of Italian photography. From the Alinari brothers, pioneers and protagonists of an approach to art and communication through images that accompanied the construction of the national identity, to the great masters of twentieth-century Italian photography and contemporary photography. Through the works of over 75 authors, an original visual narrative of our country is built: a story that is at the same time a small compendium of the history of photography, its techniques and its aims and aesthetic assumptions.
‘ItaliAE’ presents itself as a never-seen-before exhibition project, capable of bringing together, in a sometimes surprising way, the photography of yesterday and today, and techniques very distant in time, from calotype to I-photography, from autochrome of the early twentieth century to very modern Virtual Photography.
The exhibition is divided into three sections – Landscapes, Works and Faces -, each providing an ideal historical, artistic and documentary journey through the modes and genres of photography: a structure that is both simple – of great impact and immediate communicative power – and complex, able as it is to illuminate scenarios that are very different in origin and tone.
The exhibition, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in collaboration with Fratelli Alinari IDEA Spa, curated by Rita Scartoni and Luca Criscenti, will be presented abroad from 2021 in collaboration with the diplomatic-consular network and with the Italian Institutes of Culture. The images on display largely come from the Alinari Collections, declared by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in December 2018, “of particularly important historical interest”; These are flanked by a selection of materials taken from archives and studies of the main Italian photographers of the twentieth century – already established authors as well as young protagonists of ultra-contemporary photography.
The cover image from the exhibition is by Massimo Siragusa, I faraglioni, Isle of Capri, 2015 © Massimo Siragusa