In Brescia, the Santa Giulia Museum dedicates an exhibition to the photographic language of Gabriele Micalizzi

From April 23 to September 1, 2024, the Santa Giulia Museum in Brescia is hosting the exhibition "Gabriele Micalizzi. Legacy." The photographer has combined war reportage with photographic projects of a humanitarian, social and artistic nature.

The Santa Giulia Museum in Brescia hosts from April 23 to September 1, 2024 the exhibition Gabriele Micalizzi. Legacy, promoted by the Municipality of Brescia, Fondazione Brescia Musei, and Alleanza Cultura, which is part of the program of the seventh edition of Brescia photo Festival. The exhibition is dedicated to Gabriele Micalizzi, a photographer who combined war reportage with photographic projects of a humanitarian, social and artistic nature. Through his art, Micalizzi wants to highlight the tangible aspect of photography and its concreteness as an image created by light itself. Drawing on his experience as a reporter and the editorial use of his photographs, the photographer presents a selection of his images captured during contemporary events and situations, exploring the evolution of the medium and language of photography.

The exhibition displays fifty images, some of them previously unpublished, offering visitors an opportunity to explore Gabriele Micalizzi’s expressive language. Through these works, it will be possible to understand his interest in unconventional photographic techniques, revealing experimental and lesser-known aspects of his work.

The exhibition is divided into three rooms. In the first room, the visitor is greeted by four giant photographs that narrate salient moments in contemporary history, directly experienced by Micalizzi: from the Red Shirt protests in Thailand to the outbreak of civil war in Ukraine to the fighting to liberate Libyan territory and North Africa from the forces of the Islamic State. Alongside these images are videos of his most significant reports from theaters of war. In the second room, a series of contact sheets, i.e., photographs obtained directly from negatives by contact printing, is presented, showing the selection of negatives and the final printing process. Some enlarged negatives, displayed on overhead projectors, provide further insight into analog photography. The section is completed by a series of silver-salt photographic prints. The third room, a large-scale photographic polyptych, is devoted to sacred art and the places where it is kept and lived. Here, images of the persecution of Christians by ISIS and those collected in Iraq during Pope Francis’ pastoral trip are displayed for the first time. Alongside these are sixteen iconic photographs and a triptych of analog prints narrating significant events in contemporary history. The third room also contains the most striking work of the entire itinerary: a site-specific “photographic fresco” that represents the culmination of Micalizzi’s artistic evolution. This work combines the ancient fresco technique with modern photography. This work will be donated by the artist to Fondazione Brescia Musei, thus enriching the collection of the Civic Museums in continuity with the exhibition itinerary dedicated to contemporary artists.

"With Gabriele Micalizzi Fondazione Brescia Musei proposes the third unprecedented exhibition of the VII Brescia Photo Festival, this year dedicated to the theme Witnesses," says Francesca Bazoli, president of Fondazione Brescia Musei. “No other choice like exhibiting the fifty works of this extraordinary 40-year-old could have been more appropriate to the theme. Not only has his presence in the most problematic conflicts of the last fifteen years accompanied us in reading the consequences of war on populations-and with this exhibition we understand this even more deeply-but his work continually makes us reflect on the immanence of the image in the age of digital and generative intelligence. Only the critical eye of the artist, because with this exhibition Gabriele shows us that he is fully such, allows us to interpret the imponderable and unjustifiable caused by man against man. Despite this, the violence represented by Micalizzi is never gratuitous, and with his work he actualizes a message of denunciation that the great history of contemporary twentieth-century art had already revealed to us, but which few so courageously witness today. My gratitude is extended to Franciacorta Fratelli Berlucchi, which has decided to join this artistic program not only with financial support but also with the organization of an unprecedented artistic project, a side exhibition, at Borgonuovo di Corte Franca.”

Very honored artist Gabriele Micalizzi: “Fondazione Brescia Musei has given me this opportunity to bring an installation of mine and my work in front of a fresco of the Last Supper. It is exciting to see this ’combo’ between ancient and new, with ancient and contemporary techniques. My need was to try to explain the time we are living in, regarding the theme of the image. We are experiencing a digital industrial revolution, we are in the midst of a cross-section of History, and History is the main subject of my vision. Being able to do this exhibition at this time makes my work really contemporary. The chance to be able to share my documentation work, leaving a tangible record of it is an incredible recognition, In a setting that oozes history in every glimpse.”

“Fondazione Brescia Musei is proud to present for the first time, in a museum context of international stature such as Santa Giulia, the work of a great Italian photographer, Gabriele Micalizzi, at the stage of his career when the authorial traits of his work are being consolidated, in the direction of art photography,” said director Stefano Karadjov. “The exhibition, set up in the splendid spaces of the refectory of the monumental complex of Santa Giulia, the so-called Sale dell’Affresco, is also an opportunity to admire his first site-specific fresco, a completely new technique that manifests the propensity for experimentation of one of the artists who, in the last 15 years, has most radically transformed the iconography of war, foregrounding the faces of those who suffer it and getting rid of the need to aestheticize it. The feeling produced by these 50 extraordinary images on display in Brescia is as close as we can get to a poignant Renaissance deposition from the cross. For this reason, too, we are grateful to the artist for having inaugurated with us, in his photographic fresco below the fifteenth-century cenacle of the Great Hall, an absolutely innovative technique, with a work donated to the Brescia Musei Foundation, which is once again proving itself to be an institution capable of attracting those who research in the artistic field.”

With this review, Gabriele Micalizzi sets out to explore fundamental questions related to the work of the photojournalist: what makes it worth remembering and what value succeeds in giving a photograph the status of historical testimony. He analyzes both the meaning of the photographic medium, through an excursus on his own experience, work and images, and the medium itself, seeking to highlight the dichotomy between digital and analog photography.

Main partner is Freccianera Fratelli Berlucchi.

Image: Gabriele Micalizzi, Qamishlo, Syria, 06/21/2015. Courtesy Cesura

In Brescia, the Santa Giulia Museum dedicates an exhibition to the photographic language of Gabriele Micalizzi
In Brescia, the Santa Giulia Museum dedicates an exhibition to the photographic language of Gabriele Micalizzi

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