The images by Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000), one of the most well-known Italian photographers of the post-war period, are distinctive and possessed of an almost painful intensity. Inspired by Neorealismo cinema, Giacomelli, a typesetter and printer by training who had been experimenting with painting and literature, turned to photography during the 1950s, developing a highly individual visual idiom characterised by graphic abstraction. His works, almost invariably conceived as series, combine elements of reportage with lyrical subjectivity and a symbolic aesthetic which seems almost calligraphic in its harsh contrasts between black and white.
Starting with the people and landscape of his native central Italy, Giacomelli’s pictures always deal with the fundamental questions of existence: life and death, faith and love, the relationship of man and his roots, the traces of time. About 100 photographs from his most important series will be on display at WestLicht, starting with Giacomelli’s very beginnings and going all the way to the 1990s.
One of his most well-known images shows a group of young priests in their cassocks dancing a round in the snow – a moment of innocence already inscribed with loss. Giacomelli’s images of the farm land around his native town of Senigallia, taken from an airplane, dissolve the fields into picturesque networks of lines, showing the landscape as a product of human toil and the passing of time. On the one hand, they express a personal feeling; on the other, they embody a clear, courageous and conceptually groundbreaking attitude.
The photographs on display are part of the Photography Collection OstLicht, curated by Rebekka Reuter and Fabian Knierim.
26 June – 9 August 2015
WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie