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Foto/Industria 2019: A survey of industrial photography

Foto/Industria 2019: A survey of industrial photography

“Technosphere,” the theme of the fourth edition of Foto/Industria—a Bologna biennial devoted to industrial and work photography—sparks a dialog among the works of the featured artists. Blind encourages its readers to visit this must-see event in European photography, which takes places between October 24 and November 24, 2019.
Tetrapods #1, Dongying, China, 2016, photo(s) © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto

Under the auspices of the MAST Foundation, a Bologna-based non-profit organization dedicated to bridging technology, arts, and innovation, Foto/Industria has invited the Milanese art critic and curator Francesco Zanot to take over as the artistic director of the festival, succeeding François Hébel. A biennial devoted to industrial photography, since its first edition in 2013 Foto/Industria has pledged to identify and visualize themes related to industrial labor force and production, and thus to foreground an often-neglected area of photography. The event threads together a number of historical and contemporary venues scattered throughout the city of Bologna. Like in the Rencontres d’Arles, the experience of the exhibition is enhanced by the historical heritage of its setting. Edition after edition, Foto/Industria has been able to bring fresh perspectives to both Italian and European cultural agenda by forging a dialog between historical images and recent projects. It has thus established itself as an essential destination in the world of photography.

“Victoria Mathias” colliery in Essen, 1929, Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv / Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Pinakothek der Moderne, München © Albert Renger-Patzsch / Archiv Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / by SIAE 2019

For the present edition, Francesco Zanot has assembled an international panorama of photographers who, through their practice spanning various time periods, examine the impact of technologies on places, labor, and people. From Albert Renger-Patzsch to Matthieu Gafsou, to Luigi Ghirri, the curator’s choices shed new light on how the so-called “technosphere” has shaped our lifestyles, in both beneficial and detrimental ways. Among this eclectic selection, we are particularly impressed by the exhibition of the Genoa photographer, Lisetta Carmi, installed in the sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita. Her work comprises two series focused on the port of Genoa and the steelworks company Italsider. Some images, shown here for the first time, reveal the lesser known, experimental facet of Carmi’s photography, marked by tragedy and the sublime.

Port of Genova, 1964 © Lisetta Carmi. Courtesy of Martini & Ronchetti, Genova

Ferrari, Maranello, 1985-88 © Eredi di Luigi Ghirri

4.5.1 © Matthieu Gafsou / Galerie C / MAP

Bulgari, Vicenza, 1988-1989 © Eredi di Luigi Ghirri

By Anne Laurens

Foto/Industria, 4th Biennial of Photography on Work and Industry, Bologna

11 exhibitions, multiple venues 

October 24 to November 24, 2019 

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