P.S. for the translation Google Translate (Bosnian-English) is adequate.
Matteo Ceschi and Jim Marshall‘s Rise and Fall multimedia art exhibition (with high-patronage of the Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina) at Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zmaja od Bosne 5, Sarajevo)
OPENING EVENT: TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2019, 7PM
Walls are absolutely central to the history, experience, interaction, culture and condition of humans. From ancient paintings on the walls of caves, to the Great Wall of China, to the Walls of Jericho, the Wailing Wall, and the Walls of Babylon, to the modern perspectives of the Berlin Wall, right-wing dreams of border walls, and contemporary graffiti, not least in the context of the internationally recognised works of Banksy and Blu, et al.
While walls can divide and exclude, they can also function as shared, inclusive, even sacred spaces. They can communicate cultural, historical and political events and experiences through fading signs, plaques, shrapnel marks, other more subtle features, and of course street art.
Urban environments, such as Milan and Sarajevo, speak through their walls, telling stories of often tumultuous change.
Jim Marshall and Matteo Ceschi’s photo project presents a dialogue between two different contexts and artists, reflecting the humour, the horror, the light and the darkness of the stories told by the walls of our cities. Stories of events and of empires, and indeed of walls as they rise and fall.
The series of frames entitled “Through. Speriamo che il tempo non sia in ritardo” (opening TODAY, Area 35 Art Gallery, Via Vigevano 35, Milano, 6:30 PM) helps the viewer to rediscover his/her peripheral vision. Just for one day, let the narrow social networks perspective go. Friend Federico Garibaldi makes us see through the black dots of trolley car windows other people and ourselves.
I took the b&w shots of Federico Garibaldi working from March to early May 2019 with my lovely Fuji X100.
– FRIDAY, September 21, 2018
University of Milano-Bicocca, Rectorate – Rodolfi Room, Building U6, IV Floor,
Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano – 9AM
– SATURDAY, September 22, 2018
University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, Milano – 10AM
Today, intolerance and ignorance seem to be common moods in reading the Italian Resistance, La Resistenza, and in general the national history.
A lot of people prefer to forget what the past can teach: that’s a conscious and opportunistic approach that becomes an everyday philosophy for those politicians who look for short-term consensus.
Ignorance, you know, is a powerful weapon in the hands of those people who have spent their lives climbing to get the power. There is no necessary link between leadership and the oblivion of the history: real leaders know very well the lessons of history and the social-economic context where they operate.
In the social media era the legacy of history is all too often considered optional and basically useless: tweet by tweet, the present in progress deletes any genuine knowledge of the past. Gentrification and urban changes/transformation help this corrosive action destroying and deconstructing personal and collective memories. Their landscape, their framework vanishes.
When professors Tatjana Sekulić and Roberto Moscati offered me the opportunity to develop a photographic project on La Resistenza in the Greco-Pirelli/Bicocca area all these considerations became part of and inspired my artistic quête. There were two obstacles that I had to face: first, the almost total lack of signs of those times in the neighborhood (the remaining elements are an old factory chimney and a commemorative plaque dedicated to the partisans killed by the fascists, but today closed inside the Pirelli’s headquarters); the second obstacle was that my background and my imagery are far from the facts I was asked to evoke, for a double generational reason, not only because of my age, which does not include me in any direct collective memory, but also because I am by choice aesthetically and intellectually closer to the Sixties and Seventies’ counterculture.
All this made the task difficult but not impossible.
The impossible access to the relics of the Resistenza era pushed me to look for a way to provoke the revival of the past in the people who would look at my shots. So I decided to approach the issue with my everyday street photography mood, to recreate a credible iconographic-historical scenario.
Straight on the target without compromises: high contrast black and white in camera – don’t forget, the few memories of La Resistenza in Milan are in black and white; well focused clicks; few post-production. In short words, straight photography as I usually do it: no will to tamper with the representation of reality, even if I know a representation is not a mirror reflection.
In my approach to photography I considered I could add a touch of theatrical performance (in the recent past I had a theatrical experience as writer/author): in some frames – recorded with the self-timer technique – I become part of the scene dressed in a total black suit as the ghost of an unknown partisan – in the Resistenza there were no heroes, simply men and women. The Bicocca university buildings, the Pirelli factory, the work sites and the streets were my stages; an abandoned bottle became an improvised weapon, a molotov cocktail.
At the exact moment of every single shot I had in mind keywords/guide words that I wanted to propose again during the video presentation of the project. They were just suggestions, personal mind sketches, I hope they can help the discussion and the debate.
As in other projects, I’ve embraced the photographic lesson of PROVOKE, a Japanese collective active in the late Sixties: “words have lost the material force that once held the reality” and the photographers “capture with their eyes the remaining vestiges of reality that words no longer reach.”
You too will agree that the power of an image is stronger than any word. So my keywords remain only shy “whisperers” to your eyes.
The video presentation of my work will be a preview of the walking seminar scheduled for the final day of the summer school. Seven of the pictures will be printed in large format and will accompany us on a short tour in the Greco-Pirelli/Bicocca neighborhood – the locations I chased in the mid of August for the shots. Professors and students will be invited to give their contributions to the revival of the Resistenza adding to the seven photos writings, thoughts, tags and drawings, etc.
My hope, before leaving you to the vision of the images, is that once you get home you’ll make this experiment yours and improve it.
There are no better eyes than those of others to take pictures, that’s an important lesson; there exists a multitude of eyes to see the world in different ways. That could be the first step to break the walls around the world.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL PROJECT: Reinventing the Resistenza
Hey folks, I’m looking for a producer/sponsors willing to support me to transform my 1960s-1970s NBA original 35mm negatives private collection into a public photo exhibition. If you love superstar basketball players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Wali Jones, Jo Jo White etc., please contact me.
UNSEEN SIXTIES: UNPUBLISHED IMAGES FROM “SIXTY-EIGHT” IN THE U.S.A.
ExpoWall Gallery, via Curtatone 4, Milano
Openig: November 8, 2017, 6 PM
I began collecting old 35 mm film negatives seriously when I was writing Tutti i colori di Obama. L’altra storia delle elezioni americane (Franco Angeli 2012).
Tutti i colori di Obama‘s main academic goal was to rediscover those political figures who, running for the U.S. Presidency, anticipated the appearance of Barack Obama in the national political arena: comedian and activist Dick Gregory, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and reverend Jesse Jackson.
Looking for more data and details to complete my volume, I began to rely on iconographic sources, in particular pictures from national and local newspapers and magazines. These shots revealed new perspectives on the political lives of the people I was writing about. A friend’s advice then led me to explore the possibility of buying old negatives on-line: in this way, my historical report was further enriched with new stories and new characters. My background as a historian and my photographer’s eye helped me in the choice of negatives (they were often badly catalogued by the sellers: no subject; uncertain dates…).
Since then, I have specifically bought negatives from the Sixties era, in particular frames dedicated to the main events and characters of Sixty-Eight. I understand “Sixty-Eight” not in a strictly chronological sense, but in its broadest historical perspective, as that period, from 1964 to 1970 circa, during which people all around the world attempted to “revolutionize” society.
My collection – more than a hundred frames – comes mostly from newspaper archives of the Midwest, Chicago in particular. During the Sixties the Windy City was the epicenter of the national political scene and its Mayor, boss Richard Daley, was the most influential politician in the Democratic Party.
In August 1968, Chicago hosted the Democratic Convention – Hubert Humphrey was elected to run versus Republican Richard Nixon. During the Convention, people poured into the streets and in the parks of Chicago to protest against major political choices of the Democratic Party: a series of peaceful rallies, sit-ins, free concerts and free-performing events organized by New-Left, Anti-War and countercultural groups was strongly repressed by local police and the National Guard. Radical activists like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, New-Left leader Tom Hayden, pacifist David Dellinger, poet Allen Ginsberg, co-founder of the Black Panther Party Bobby Seale, Dick Gregory, folk singer Phil Ochs and the MC5 rock band were some of the leaders of the protest during those days, a tragic moment for U.S. Democracy.
These unseen shots – frames which were not selected for publication by newspaper editors – can help us enrich the photo album of the United States’ “Sixty-Eight” with unseen and unpublished details.
Along with well-known faces – U.S Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; West Coast psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane; counterculture leaders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin; African-American Boston Celtics basketball star Bill Russell; heavyweight champion Joe Frazier; young reverend Jesse Jackson – there are unknown individuals who kept the “wind of change” blowing.
For the 50th anniversary celebration of “Sixty-Eight”, ExpoWall Gallery presents a rich selection of my 35mm private collection. Pamela Campaner, Alberto Meomartini and Denis Curti’s help was very precious in the choice of the frames. Mario Govino‘s print art was equally important for the project.
Unseen Sixties is the result both of missed meetings – the photo reporter shots not selected by American newspaper and magazine editors in the 1960s – and successful meetings, those animating today my city, Milan, and the documentary photography world the city inevitably refers to, to celebrate “the year that rocked the world”, as author Mark Kurlansky wrote in 2004.
Welcome then, to this never seen cutout of history. The Unseen Sixties are waiting for you to discover them.