SPRING AT PALAZZO FORTUNY. The amazons of photography from the collection of Mario Trevisan

The exhibition

The amazons of photography
from the collection of Mario Trevisan

From March 8th to July 14th, 2014
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice

If there’s one cultural sector in which women excel in subject, compared to the traditional male approach, it is in photography, which this year celebrates the 175th anniversary of Daguerre’s “marvellous” invention.

Among the greatest figures in the history of photography are such artists as Julia Margaret Cameron from the 1870s, Margaret Bourke-White, Dora Maart, Lisette Model, Diane Arbus, Nan Golden, Nan Goldin and many more; they are the stars of our time, Amazons on the path of avant-garde images and responsive, careful witnesses of life in the world.

Moreover, “photography has also liberated them from some difficult manual aspects for a long time considered the prerogative of men, offering itself above all as an abstract, conceptual, poetic language”, as Italo Zannier, curator of the exhibition promoted by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia as part of Spring at Palazzo Fortuny from 8th March to 14th July, writes.

The exhibition presents a significant anthology of photographs from the late 19th century to the present day, offering a particular historic and linguistic overview of the medium thanks to the passion and careful research of Mario Trevisan, who has loaned the works for display in the fascinating spaces of the Fortuny, which itself opened in the 1970s with exhibitions dedicated to photography, some of which of memorable international importance.

The selection opens with two portraits by Julia M. Cameron, and continues between the 1920s and 1940s with the work of two Austrian photographers, Trude Fleischmann and Madame D’Ora, of the American Margeret Bourke White, the Hungarian Ghitta Carell, the English Eva Barrett and two Germans, Ruth Bernhard and Leni Riefenstahl. Also on display are photographs by Dora Maar and Lisette Model, an Austrian of Jewish extraction who moved to the United States at the outbreak of the Second World War, where she opened a famous school of photography.

The latter half of the 20th century is heralded by Diane Arbus, who trained at Model’s school, followed by Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman, Joyce Tennes, Violeta Bubelyte and Graciela Iturbide, while the 1990s are represented by such artists as Nan Goldin, Desirée Dolron – who blends the influence of the Flemish painterly tradition with modern digital processing – Bettina Rheims, Yañez Flor de Maria Garduño, Sandy Skoglund, the Iranian Shirin Neshat – with her accounts of the injustices of Moslem society, including, displayed here, her celebrated I am its Secret – and Marina Abramović.

Contemporary women’s photography is represented by the fascinating photographs of Loretta Lux, Maggie Taylor – a visionary artist whose works are considered milestones of current digital photography – Jenny Saville – who with extraordinary ‘painterly’ skill has never ceased to present the altered body of women, causing a sensation – and the Italian Silvia Camporesi, Sabrina Mezzaqui and Giusy Calia.

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Catalogue Silvana Editoriale – Milan

Curated by Italo Zannier
Layout Daniela Ferretti

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