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29TH OCTOBER 2000 – 7TH JANUARY 2001
Palazzo Santa Margherita, Corso Canalgrande 103, Modena

By Claudia Zanfi

The Raccolta della Fotografia Contemporanea was started in 1991 when Franco Fontana donated a corpus of over 500 photographs. Another source of works, which continues to grow, is to be found in the images that the Galleria Civica has acquired over its 40-year long involvement in the patronage of visual arts. In 1993, this strong tradition opened the way to the founding of Modena per la Fotografia, an event which has become a focal point within the international photographic debate. Many of the artists who have presented work in this event have added to the Collection which now boasts some 4,000 single images, giving the Collection a unique status in the field of public collections on Italy. This exhibition offers a selection of more than 100 images that have come to form part of the Collection over the last three years.

This section shows several of the most highly-acclaimed works acquired over the last three years with particular attention paid to certain great protagonists of the contemporary photographic scene. These range from two of the most celebrated figures of the new American school of the eighties, Philip Lorca diCorcia and Nan Goldin (who both represent a raw, unglamorous approach to photography, which tells of daily metropolitan life in all its aspects), to the most well-known living Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki of whom two extraordinary female portraits have come to form part of the collection. Furthermore, the images of both Francesca Woodman and Ralph Eugene Meatyard, though using very different languages, develop the theme of solitude from the enigmatically biographical point of view. No less importance is given here to the presence of Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, on of the key figures in contemporary Mexican photography. There is also more from Japanese photographers such as Kenro Izu, Jun Shiraoka, Toshio Shibata and Naoya Hatekayama.

The works on show in this section form part of a nucleus of images belonging to the volume and exhibition entitled Castelli Romani organised in 1982 by the Region of Lazio and which reached the Collection in 1999 thanks to the donation of Franco Fontana. The exhibition shows the fruit of a photographic project aimed at documenting the places of interest and the inhabitants of the "Colli” area, which was entrusted to six of the most prestigious names on the national and international photography scene: Edouard Boubat, Vincenzo Castella, Franco Fontana, Joan Fontcuberta, Luigi Ghirri and Neal Slavin.

ADAM CLARK VROMAN: Native Americans
The Contemporary Photography Collection is, by its very nature, centred most heavily around the more recent developments in photographic culture. Despite this, on the occasion of the 1997 exhibition “Native Americans – a private landscape”, 120 of Adam Clark Vroman’s images (which made up the main body of the exhibition) were purchased. They are in fact “modern prints” taken from the originals – ??????? and plates belonging to the Public Library of Pasadena, which has the only complete collection of the works. It thus remains a corpus unique in its kind in Italy and which testifies to the wide range of interest on behalf of the Galleria Civica with regard to photography as a whole, as well as its concern for the Collection to be considered a resource for the study not only of the history of photography but also of history itself.

The Galleria Civica has always given ample space to emerging figures on the national photography scene. The images of these artists demonstrate the great vitality of current Italian photography, especially among those artists who are committed to marrying tradition with innovation, to finding new images and new forms of expression without forgetting even the most recent past. It is not by chance that a large share of the works take up the theme of the landscape, both rural and urban, carrying on the great traditions of the 1970s and ‘80s of such masters and Luigi Ghirri, Gabriele Basilico and Mimmo Jodice, or the great research carried out by Franco Vaccari. The works on show in this section are by: Luca Andreoni and Antonio Fortugno, Paolo Bernabini, Fabio Boni, Daniele de Lonti, Francesco Jodice, Tancredi Mangano, Pino Musi, Toni Thorimbert, Annalisa Sonzogno, Barbara La Ragione, Marzia Migliora, Carmelo Nicosia, Alessandra Spranzio, and Brunella Longo.