Milan, Bocconi hosts an exhibition dedicated to Sergio Scabar, the photographer who loved Morandi

From Jan. 25 to April 2024, Bocconi University in Milan is dedicating an exhibition to photographer Sergio Scabar, author of singular shots that recall the poetics of Giorgio Morandi.

Vases, books, bowls and small pieces of wood. A little theater of objects to get to the essence of phenomena. This is the “photographic poetics” of Sergio Scabar, the photographer who passed away in 2019, and for the first time on display in Milan from Jan. 25 to April 20 at BAG Bocconi in via Sarfatti 25, as part of the rich calendar of initiatives of MIA Photo Fair. Il tempo sospeso: Opere di Sergio Scabar, conceived by Fabio Castelli and curated by Angela Madesani, presents the photographer’s last works, with unpublished images from the artist’s family and private collections. Photographs that are the result of a print made by the artist himself, in black and white, on baryta paper - high-end paper made of pure, thick-weight cellulose - and then placed inside black frames, without glass or passe-partout. Images that harken back to his domestic dimension, as in the works of Giorgio Morandi, an artist particularly beloved by the Friulian photographer.

“They are all unique pieces,” comments Angela Madesani, curator of the exhibition, “a uniqueness also expressed by the frame, which gives a different meaning to things each time. They are works that take a long time to view, in contrast to the increasingly widespread visual consumerism of our days.” Scabar’s is a personal imagery, which becomes collective through the creation of his works, the result of meticulous work of compositional discipline, almost obsessive. “Sergio,” Madesani further comments, “had a very close relationship with each of his individual works, which he wrapped in a very soft black cloth. He treated his works like children who were not supposed to catch cold.”

Unique shots of objects that the artist deliberately froze and suspended in time, a dimension of pure still life. Expression of intelligence of form, enhanced by uniform light and indefinite origin. “Theaters of things,” Madesani calls them, tableaux-vivants that harken back to the Victorian historical-photographic tradition. “Each of his works,” he explains, “is a possible answer to questions. They bear the force of doubt about the meaning of things, about existence, about art-making itself. They are photographs linked to time, to memory, where the aesthetic dimension is certainly a means, but not the ultimate goal.”

This initiative is part of the run-up to MIA Photo Fair 2024, the international art fair dedicated to photography in Italy (April 11-14), which will take place in the central AllianzMiCo venue.

“The exhibition dedicated to Sergio Scabar hosted at Bocconi,” says MIA Director Ilaria Dazzi, “testifies to Fiere di Parma’s desire to establish an increasingly close relationship with the city of Milan. We think that photography can make a fundamental contribution to enrich the city’s already important cultural offer. Our goal is to create a valuable network with an increasing number of city institutions.”

Fabio Castelli, creator of the exhibition, concludes, “The choice of this artist is meant to recall the intent expressed in the concept of the exhibitions at Bocconi, which is to present Italian and foreign authors of international standing, but relatively less known in Italy and in Milan in particular. The opportunity arose considering the theme ’Changing’ in this year’s edition of MIA Photo Fair. Scabar’s works, so far removed from the time and din of our present, find their apex of fascination by looking at those in which we recognize certain elements that were part of the world of photography. That world we know well. They seem very distant to us, and they cause us to reflect on the values of this change.”

Sergio Scabar was born in Ronchi dei Legionari (Gorizia) in 1946, where he lived and worked until his death in 2019. He began his interest in photography in 1964. From 1966 to 1974 he occasionally participated in national and international competitions, using photography mainly for storytelling and reportage purposes. Later, in the 1980s, his work took a substantial turn: the human figure exited his work and his interest focused on nature, sublimating the material and conceptual aspects.

With the work The Theater of Things in 1996, he began to use a “one-of-a-kind” alchemical silver salt print. The artisanal working method emerged more than in previous works. In 2003 he received the “Friuli Venezia Giulia Fotografia” award from CRAF. In 2005 he made a person entitled Tempo Fermo at Grumello Castle (Bergamo ) curated by Philippe Daverio. In 2008 he published Silence of Light for Punto Marte Editore and in 2010 Cidinors published by Associazion cultural Colonos. In 2015 he participated in the group show Obiecta at Giacomo Guidi Gallery (Rome) and in 2016 he participated in Silenzi at Angela Madesani’s Galleria Milano (Milan).

In 2017 a solo exhibition was held at Galerie L&C Tirelli in Vevey (Switzerland).

His works are in the contemporary art collection of San Vito al Tagliamento, Punto Fermo, established on the occasion of the exhibition Palinsesti (2011), according to a project by Angelo Bertani, Alessandro del Puppi and Denis Viva. His works are also in the collection of the Pinacoteca dei Musei Provinciali - Palazzo Attems Petzenstein, the Biblioteca Statale Isontina in Gorizia, the CRAF - Centro di Ricerca e Archiviazione della Fotografia in Spilimbergo (Pordenone), the collection of the Polinova Galerija in Aidussina (Slovenia ) and the Associazione cultural Colonos(Villacaccia di Lestizza, Udine). He has exhibited in numerous private galleries and in various institutions in Italy and abroad.

Admission to the exhibition is free.

Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sunday.

For all information, you can visit the official website of Bocconi University.

Milan, Bocconi hosts an exhibition dedicated to Sergio Scabar, the photographer who loved Morandi
Milan, Bocconi hosts an exhibition dedicated to Sergio Scabar, the photographer who loved Morandi

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