press release

The Centrality of the Portrait

Marco Delogu

In 1543 Charles V commissioned Titian to paint
 the portrait of his wife Isabella. The producing of a portrait is a complex experience involving identity, material, idioms and slow pace and the “centrality
of the artist” is decisive. Titian painted Isabella four years after her death: photography depicts living and, only in rare cases, dead people.

The photography festival is the producing of an enormous portrait. It creates other opportunities
for living: meetings, crossing and overlapping
of experiences, emotions and inner lives. Every festival, at different levels, has been this: a symbolic crossroads of strong and lasting friendships, of knowledge, loves and sadly losses (the lectures at the festival will be dedicated to the unforgettable Anna Gianesini). The thirteenth festival is a huge picture gallery of portraits in which the public interacts with the photos, the walls look back at onlookers and all this generates new images. “Slow” photos which at every moment create moving images, our cure against the “sick” accumulation of images which has been a feature of recent years.

This large gallery starts from MACRO and spreads throughout the city, in the foreign cultural centres, suburban theatres, galleries and other museums. Every place, every time, generates interactions and new, living images. The magic of every single exhibition generates different responses. We have to protect with glass the anarchists not protected in the nineteenth century and we intend to protect records of them. Then Sander and the start of the “short century”, the history of the twentieth century in the Germany which saw the rise and fall of the folly of Nazism, and also a sign of something that concerned the entire West. The visual “catalogues” of Roger Ballen and Larry Find, great works, the first obsessive, the product of years of relationships, aesthetic and community, and the other a totally unbiased witness of a time of great freedom. We are opening the festival with a large group exhibition of many photographers requiring different materials and outfittings. This is where the magic lies, in the reproduction with many expressions, formats and surfaces of the essence of portrait photography, in a great game where the onlookers are the key players and can see themselves. A game of cross references and mirrors between the moment in which the photo has been taken and the many moments in which it is seen exactly in the form and in the dimension in which it was devised.

Photography creates life, remembers lives, even when it shoots death. Biasiucci recalls for us the memory of a community of soldiers “massacred” and we don’t know how many of the people we’ll meet on the walls of the entire festival are no
longer on this earth. We do know however that, like Charles V and his wife Isabella, painted by Titian when he was alive and she wasn’t, we’ll go on living and looking at these portraits and we’ll want to produce many others. No useless accumulation, just slowness, belonging and depth.