From Turin to Florence: at Villa Bardini the monographic exhibition of Lisetta Carmi, with unpublished sections

From May 3 to October 8, 2023, Villa Bardini in Florence is hosting the monographic exhibition "Lisetta Carmi. Suonare Forte" previously presented at the Gallerie d'Italia in Turin. In the Florentine rearrangement, previously unseen sections.

From May 3 to October 8, 2023 Villa Bardini in Florence hosts the monographic exhibition Lisetta Carmi. Playing Strong, curated by Giovanni Battista Martini, curator of the photographer’s Archive. The exhibition is dedicated to one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, Lisetta Carmi, who placedhumanity at the center of her production: her investigation of man and society through her images of transvestites in the Genoa ghetto, her dramatic denunciation of the working conditions of dockworkers, and the women she photographed in every part of the world. This is the first installment of the Gallerie d’Italia - Turin project “La Grande Fotografia Italiana” entrusted to Roberto Koch, and the Florentine rearrangement features two special in-depth sections dedicated to the1966 flood and Florentine composer Luigi Dallapiccola. The exhibition in the Tuscan capital is sponsored by Fondazione CR Firenze and Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron.

On display are 180 photographs taken in the 20 years of her professional life between the 1960s and 1970s, offering a cross-section of Lisetta Carmi’s most important photographic projects. The master photographer, a survivor of racial persecution, transformed the camera into a tool for understanding the world and the human condition while at the same time finding answers about herself and soothing her existential anguish.

The exhibition project is divided into nine sections, including one dedicated to the theme of labor. There are images of the dramatic conditions of the workers in the Port of Genoa, her hometown, the workers dedicated to unloading phosphates from the holds, immersed in white dust, the factories with the most spectacular and dangerous workings such as steel casting at Italsider, the young female workers in the cork factory of Calangianus in Sardinia. And it is precisely the figure of the woman who proposes herself as the protagonist in the series of raw and disturbing shots of childbirth, or of the encounters made in the many countries visited: Israel, India, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Morocco, Mexico. Also exhibited are the forty-two shots taken underground in Paris. These became an artist’s book, Métropolitain, which won the second Prize for Culture in Photography in Fermo in 1966.

Ample space will be devoted to work composed over six years of assiduous association with the transvestite community, from 1965 to 1971, in Genoa’s historic center, with which Lisetta Carmi asserts the right of every individual to determine his or her own gender identity. These are both black and white and color shots, the latter rediscovered a few years ago in the photographer’s archive.

In February 1966, in Sant’Ambrogio di Zoagli, just a four-minute encounter was enough for Carmi to return an intense series of portraits of the poet Ezra Pound, shown here in full.

Lisetta Carmi’s early life as a pianist dialogues with photography in the work dedicated to Annalibera’s Quaderno musicale by Florentine composer Luigi Dallapiccola. The eleven abstract photograms are the graphic interpretation of the eleven pieces written by the musician for his little daughter’s birthday and are accompanied by four portraits of the maestro.

The section devoted to theFlorence flood of November 1966 is totally unpublished. Carmi herself would later recount: “I arrived in a devastated city. For two days and one night I photographed thousands of wet books miraculously saved by volunteers, overturned cars, apples drowned in mud, chairs, bottles and flasks floating in the streets invaded by muddy water.”

The exhibition catalog is produced by Edizioni Gallerie d’Italia | Skira.

For info:

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Image: Lisetta Carmi, Florence, October 1966. 30 x 40 cm © Martini & Ronchetti. By concession of Archivio Lisetta Carmi.

From Turin to Florence: at Villa Bardini the monographic exhibition of Lisetta Carmi, with unpublished sections
From Turin to Florence: at Villa Bardini the monographic exhibition of Lisetta Carmi, with unpublished sections

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