The MAST Foundation presents for the first time in Italy an exhibition entirely dedicated to American photographer W: Eugene Smith and to the monumental body of work he realised from 1955 onwards in Pittsburgh, the most powerful industrial city in the world at the time.
The project, which Smith considered the most ambitious of his career, marked a turning point in his professional and personal life. Aged thirty-six, after his achievement of success and fame as a photojournalist documenting some of the most important events of World War II for “Life,”he decided to break with the nearly intolerable limitations imposed by the media and devoted himself to photography from a position of total expressive freedom.
His first commission as a freelancer was to take 80 to 100 photos of Pittsburgh for a publication celebrating the bicentennial of its foundation. The city was in the midst of an economic boom driven by the growth of the steel industry, and in particular its steel mills, which guaranteed employment and drew workers from all over the world.
Smith was fascinated by the City of Steel, the faces of the workers, its streets, its factories and the infinite details and contradictions of its social fabric, painstakingly recording it all in order to create a comprehensive portrait of the city. He was driven by the desire to find the absolute, to be truly present and prepared in the sparse moments in which the truth of life manifests itself in worldly phenomena. Pittsburgh soon became his obsession. Instead of shooting for six weeks, he took photographs for two or three years, then spent the rest of his life struggling with the almost 20,000 negatives and 2,000 master prints, doggedly pursuing his ultimate ambition: to create the definitive book on Pittsburgh, an unprecedented work in the history of photography.
Theproject never came to an end and only a small number of images were published.
Curated by Urs Stahel, the exhibition at MAST displays a group of 170 core pictures from this magnificent and painstaking work, providing a portrayal of Pittsburgh but also of America in the 1950s, with its lights and shadows and its promises of happiness and progress.
The exhibition is organised by the MAST Foundation in collaboration with Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Photos © W. Eugene Smith / Magnum Photos
The MAST Foundation, without betraying its mission of exploring the themes of work and industry, presents an exhibition focused on 1968 in the USA, not only to celebrate a key date but also to pay homage to photojournalism in the 1960s.
Through 54 iconic shots by celebrated photo-reporters of the time, the exhibition documents the major events of one of the most significant cultural revolutions ever, on one side to retrace the spirit of the time, on the other to celebrate a glorious photographic genre—photojournalism—on the verge of giving way to the first colour live broadcasts on television.
The year 1968 marked a radical change in public attitudes and beliefs. Photojournalism had a dominating role in the shaping of public attitudes at the time. Photojournalism played a crucial part in triggering this transformation: neither the Beatles nor the Rolling Stones, neither the moon landings nor the Vietnam War, neither Courrèges nor Twiggy, neither sexual nor political liberation, feminism or the Black Panther movement are conceivable without the crisp, high-contrast, black-and-white photographs that appeared in newspapers or without the first colour spreads in magazines. Andy Warhol’s disaster images and his endless rows of portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe would never have existed without press images. The assassinations of John Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Martin Luther King Jr. were covered in countless reports and photo series by the international press.
MAST stands for MANIFATTURA di ARTI, SPERIMENTAZIONE e TECNOLOGIA (ARTS, EXPERIENCE and TECHNOLOGY).
MANIFATTURA: the industrial identity of the district
ARTI: the highest forms of creative expression
SPERIMENTAZIONE:the practice at the heart of innovation
TECNOLOGIA: the application of techniques that can improve human life
The project was designed by STUDIO LABICS in ROME, which won an invited competition organized by G.D (COESIA group) in 2005, among the most renowned young Italian architecture firms. Two major pedestrian ramps, which extend from the core of the building to the main access, symbolize the close relationship between the Coesia industrial complex and the surrounding city, creating a metaphorical bridge between COESIA, the immediate city surroundings and the adjacent park. The building consists of two sections that stand next to each other, with large windows, glass features, and frames in steel. The original architectural design extends throughout the spaces occupied by the various services. A reflecting pool and landscaped garden complete the design, showing how the transformation of a former industrial space can revive an area on the outskirts, with company and community activities that make it a gathering place.
WHERE NEW INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFER A CONTEXT FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ON INNOVATION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, MECHANICS AND THE WORLD OF WORK
The Gallery is partially modelled on so-called science centres, in which the visitor can try the interactive displays and experience a greater level of involvement.
The space is dedicated to the culture of innovation, with a particular focus on technological innovations in mechanical industry. The aim is to stimulate both curiosity and creativity within the different groups of visitors.
The installation in the Gallery includes the following devices:
- hands-on exhibits (interactive devices and instruments)
- multimedia exhibits
- virtual reality installations (augmented reality)
- teaching labs
The ground floor will mainly host a great interactive game based on entrepreneurship. This will be developed and installed in 2015.
Gallery / target
The Gallery aims to reach out to local communities in order to enhance the perceived value of the mechanical industry. Leveraging on the local identity, MAST Foundation wishes to offer a context where it is possible to share knowledge and experiences and to educate the younger generations through a mix of technology, innovation and art in a dynamic, flexible, committing and engaging environment.
The most interesting target is the Z generation, people born after 1995 and digital fluent.
The Gallery develops close relationships with middle schools, high schools and universities to involve the maximum number of people in the target group. In addition, the exhibition space proposes activities and services of interest to all citizens and families. (...)
WHERE EXCELLENT TRAINING IN MECHANICAL TECHNOLOGIES OFFERS COESIA EMPLOYEES AND STUDENTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR CONTINUAL GROWTH
The Academy offers technical and management training to Coesia employees and organizes workshops and short courses to visitors of MAST and students of different age groups. Programs focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, while the methodology facilitates experience and participation.
With this perspective, the Academy together with MAST Foundation establishes permanent relationships with different departments and schools of the University of Bologna, and other Academic Institutions and Foundations in the field.
The Academy makes large and small classrooms available, equipped with cutting-edge teaching technologies. A classroom for video-conferencing with Cisco's "Telepresence" technology can be rented to outside companies and organizations.
WHERE SCREENINGS OF DOCUMENTARIES, MUSICAL AND ARTISTIC PERFORMANCES, CREATE THE CONDITIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CREATIVITY
The Auditorium is available to host activities associated with both the Gallery, the Academy and the Coesia Group (conventions, meetings, films) as well as offering various events such as concerts, shows, conferences.
In terms of size (400 seats) and other architectural/technological aspects, the auditorium was designed with features that set it apart from similar locations in Bologna.
With 400 seats, it is the only medium-sized space near the city center.
One of the most important aspects is its acoustic system, which can be adjusted depending on the type of event.
WHERE CULINARY EXPERIMENTATION COMES TOGETHER WITH TECHNOLOGY, SUSTAINABILITY AND MULTICULTURAL INVENTIVENESS
The cafeteria is located beneath the auditorium. It provides services to the Coesia Group for its guests and customers and is open to the visitors of the Gallery on the occasion of events.
Here culinary creativity meets technology, sustainability and cultural diversity in a project that aims to provide users with a convivial meeting place, and at the same time, an experimentation and learning environment.
WHERE TODDLERS TAKE THEIR FIRST STEPS IN SOCIAL LEARNING AND BEGIN TO EXPRESS THEIR IMAGINATION
A significant area of MAST has been dedicated to a unique nursery, built to host the very young children of the Coesia Group employees during office hours. The Day-care was opened in 2012 and can host up to 80 children of Coesia Group employees (85%), and the community (15%).
The project was realized in collaboration with "Reggio Children, an International Center for the Defense and Promotion of the Rights and Potential of All Children". Relying on their wide experience developed during the last three decades, Reggio Children have created a methodology – recognized all over the world – focused on the value of team work and of meaningful relationships between children and their families.
A management company was established, and in collaboration with Reggio Children, the Cadiai Cooperative and the Giannino Stoppani Cooperative, it manages the Day-care, the pedagogical approach and relationships with institutions.
From 2013, to meet a local need, a kindergarten section for three-year-old children was also opened.
INNOVATION AT THE NURSERY
The MAST nursery is based on a pedagogical project that offers children a range of educational and cultural stimuli:
The value of beauty
The architectural choices, the colours and the furnishings are inspired by aesthetic criteria and by the most up-to-date pedagogical studies on the perceptions of young children
A tool of everyday life and modernity, to promote new methods of communication and information exchange between educators and parents
Objects of growth that accompany the development of the child's representation and language
Chosen as the product of a fine artistic and craft culture
English through songs
To learn new sounds through music with a mother tongue teacher
The workshops of colour, nature and music
The workshops are places where children, teachers and families can meet, discover and explore. The first is for painting, the second is for experiencing time as change in plants and fruit – also in relation to an outdoor vegetable garden – and the third is for playing and listening to music.
WHERE THE PRINCIPLES OF MODERN NUTRITION BECOME AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ACTIVE AWARENESS
The canteen (1,000 sqm) provides the opportunity for active awareness of the basic principles of modern nutrition, with the aim of improving lifestyle. It is organized into islands with nutrition labels and the "free-flow" path favours careful food choices.
During the week the canteen serves lunch to Coesia Group employees, while during the weekend, it can be used to host events.
WHERE THE INNOVATION OF TECHNOLOGY FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY MESHES WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES
The Wellness Center, which is supplied and managed by Technogym (world leader in fitness equipment), offers a variety of services based on a model of intergrated and holistic well-being and will also be running dedicated programs for the community.
The Company Restaurant and Wellness Center were designed as part of a unified project where nutrition and physical activity are salient features of the Mast identity. One of the driving values that inspires the project is the promotion of an idea of health connected to awareness, information, and a nutritional culture related to health and well-being in order to improve the quality of life.