MAST Foundation presents the exhibitions dedicated to work and the landscape in Emilia-Romagna, featuring over 200 images and thirty five books on the environments, situations, and contexts found in the Emilia region.
The themes of the exhibitions are enhanced by the documentary Le radici dei sogni – L’Emilia-Romagna tra cinema e paesaggio (The Roots of Dreams – Emilia-Romagna between Cinema and Landscape).
In A Tile, Some Milk, a Machine and Logistics – Photographs of Emilia Romagna at Work, curated by Urs Stahel, works by major photographers reflect on developments in the economy and landscape that have affected the Emilia-Romagna region in recent decades.
The MAST exhibitions develop the theme of Via Emilia which is the main topic of the XI edition of Fotografia Europea 2016 but addressing it to the photographic representation of work, industry and economy, in line with the main mission of MAST Foundation.
The exhibition aims to weave a storyline organised into groups of contrasting photographs. “The task of these images,” explains Urs Stahel, “is to show us how old industries disappear, replaced by new factories and production systems with cutting-edge technology, and how a traditional landscape and an ancient land contrast with the new areas devoted to advanced service industries, to trade, technology, and speed, and how similar phenomena are reflected not only in the machine and ceramics industries, but also in those of food production and small business.”
The photographers' work, along with scenes from the film Il deserto rosso (Red Desert, 1964) by Michelangelo Antonioni, craft a tale that faithfully represents the economic evolution of Emilia Romagna and the ongoing transformation of the manufacturing industry.
We begin with the classic portrait of a worker from Bologna taken by Enrico Pasquali, followed by images of equipment and tools produced by the Officine Minganti in the mid-20th century, and abandoned packaging machines photographed by Gabriele Basilico in a Bologna factory while it was being taken down and reconverted. William Guerrieri shows the abandonment of an industrial dairy in San Faustino, near Rubiera, in his project Dairy; photographs by Paola De Pietri depict the traditional process of ceramic production, while large-format images by Carlo Valsecchi reveal industries at the cutting edge of technology. The change brought on by increased speed on roadways and new railway lines appears in the photographs of Tim Davis, John Gossage, Walter Niedermayr, and Bas Princen showing the construction of the TAV, the high-speed railway line connecting Turin to Naples; these contrast with the idyllic images of the Po delta by Marco Zanta. The landscapes of Guido Guidi, whose small-format colour photographs, dense with meaning, are scattered throughout the exhibition like a leitmotiv, narrate the changes that have taken place in the man-made environment of Emilia Romagna, along with Olivo Barbieri's photographs of Cavriago and the queues at the tills of its shopping centres, visually representing the gradual metamorphosis that the town has undergone. The video La Via Emilia è un aeroporto (Via Emilia is an Airport) by Franco Vaccari presents the major road that cuts across the region as both an important thoroughfare and a workplace for sex workers. Economic development is paired with political debate in the video of Lewis Baltz and in the photographic reporting of Simone Donati, who has documented Italian collective rituals in his work. The exhibition also includes videos by Tim Davis and William Guerrieri.
As a side event, the documentary Le radici dei sogni – L’Emilia-Romagna tra cinema e paesaggio (The Roots of Dreams – Emilia-Romagna between Cinema and Landscape, 73 min.) will be shown in a continuous loop on Level 0. The film, made by Francesca Zerbetto and Dario Zanasi in 2015 and produced by the Cineteca di Bologna and MaxMan Coop with the support of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Authority and the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, presents a journey through the region's landscape, where some of the most important directors in Italian and international cinema have set their films.
In addition, a display of 35 books on the environments, situations, and contexts of Emilia Romagna, made available by Linea di Confine, completes the exhibition.
Exhibition curator: Urs Stahel
MAST Foundation is partner of Fotografia Europea 2016 – Reggio Emilia.
We thank the Cineteca di Bologna and Linea di Confine, Rubiera for their collaboration.