, Staged photography from the Seventies until today
Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy
JIANG Pengyi 蒋鹏奕
Works by James Casebere, Bruce Charlesworth, Eileen Cowin, Bernard Faucon, Joan Fontcuberta, Samuel Fosso, Julia Fullerton Batten, Alison Jackson. David Lachapelle, David Levinthal, Hiroyuki Masuyama, Tracey Moffatt, Yasumasa Morimura, Nic Nicosia, Lori Nix, Erwin Olaf, Jiang Pengyi, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Sandy Skoglund, Hannah Starkey, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Paolo Ventura, Jeff Wall, Gillian Wearing, Miwa Yanagi e Jung Yeondoo.
The exhibition is the first retrospective exhibition ever held in Italy of staged photography, a genre that has revolutionised the language of photography since the 1980s and its place among the contemporary arts.
With more than one hundred large-scale works on display, the exhibition demonstrates how between the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, photography was able to achieve the heights of imagination and invention which had previously been almost exclusively the province of cinema and painting. Goldfish invading rooms, icefalls in deserts, invented cities, Marilyn Monroe and Lady Di shopping together – all of this can also take place in front of a camera, or perhaps inside a camera or a computer, transforming the invention that was born to mirror the world into a machine that produces dreams and deceptions.
Between the late 1970s and early 1980s, photography assumed a new role and a new identity in the context of the arts. Several photographers began to stage and build actual film sets to create a parallel reality, often indistinguishable from those traditionally portrayed in direct photography. Photography began to combine with performance and sculpture, even taking the form of theatrical re-enactments, whereas other artists began using the evolving new technologies to manipulate images, generating surreal situations, at times disturbing or humorous, or developing digital collages through the increasingly sophisticated use of Photoshop, released in 1990.
Photography, the realm of (presumed) documentation and objectivity, had become the realm of fantasy, invention and subjectivity, thus performing the last decisive evolution in its history.
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