WHAT A FANTASTIC WORLD HERE!
A contemporary gaze at the Museomontagna Archives
From March 12, 2020 the Museo Nazionale della Montagna opens the exhibition What a Fantastic World Here! A Contemporary Gaze at the Museomontagna Archives, edited by Veronica Lisino, Conservator of the Photograph Library of the Documentation Centre, and by Giangavino Pazzola, independent curator.
A path of exploration and reinterpretation of the photographic collections ‒, and not only ‒, conserved in the Museum’s archives, from the point of view of four artists: Marina Caneve, Vittorio Mortarotti, Laura Pugno and Davide Tranchina.
The initiative is part of the iAlp – Interactive Alpine Museums project, which the Museomontagna has been conducting since 2017 with the Musée Alpin of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, and it continues the action of enhancement of the archives collections of the Turin institution, declining it as an opportunity to broaden the reflection on the representation of the mountain and trace new visions.
Starting from an investigation of the most classic stereotypes of the representation of the mountain – such as the bucolic one to which the title of the exhibition refers, while recalling the richness of the Museum’s heritage and the protagonist of the lucky bestseller of Johanna Spyri (1880), Heidi, alpine stereotype par excellence and pop icon of the mountain –, with the creation of new works specifically designed for the Museum’s spaces, the four artists have defined “new” mountains to tell a world that is always the same, but at the same time always different.
Tranchina with his installation does not describe the physical enchanted place as such but the poetic space of inner conflict; for Mortarotti, mountains no longer signify a monumental and inaccessible limit but a human threshold to explore from within, a space of permeability and possibility. Pugno offers us a formal analysis of the landscape that recounts the contradictions in the construction of the imaginary through the process of the gaze, while Caneve’s mountain is the reconstruction, through details, of the ideal representation of places, an association of ideas capable of interrogating the viewer about the mechanisms that lead us to the construction of knowledge.
The archive material selected by the artists, both as a creative element to be reworked, and as a suggestion or real “act of appropriation” to be included in their installations or to be combined to create new connections and meanings, involves all the collections conserved in the Documentation Area of the Museomontagna, including that of the Biblioteca Nazionale of the Italian Alpine Club which is part of it, such as topographic maps, books and periodicals. The artists therefore moved from the Walter Bonatti Archive to the Mario Fantin Fund, passing through the Francesco Ravelli Fund and small groups and series of other authors of the Photograph Library, from board games to film posters and advertising gadgets of the Iconographic Collections, from the series of plaster casts of petroglyphs to the mountain- refuge registers of the Mountaineering Archive and to the advertising films of the Historic Film and Video Libraries.
The area of research was confined to the lands of the Western Alps, the spatial limits of the cross-border iAlp project with which the Museomontagna, together with the Museé Alpin of Chamonix, carries out a cataloging and digitalization work on a significant part of the respective archives, which will be soon made available on a digital platform, useful for scholars and all those who want to access a selection of collections, with the possibility of taking advantage of thematic and personalized consultation paths.
The iAlp platform www.mountainmuseums.org will be presented before the opening on March 11 at 5 pm. At 6 pm the exhibition On the Trail of the Glaciers will also open, set up on the ground floor of the Museum.
The artists in the exhibition:
Marina Caneve (Belluno, 1988) is a photographer who follows an interdisciplinary approach in her work. She addresses themes of vulnerability – environmental, social and cultural – and the construction of knowledge through the visual arts.
In 2018 she won the Young Italian Photographer Award at Fotografia Europea with the project Are They Rocks or Clouds?, the book of which was published in 2019 by the Dutch Fw:Books with the Italian OTM. In 2019 she was one of five photographers asked to shoot a photographic campaign on contemporary Italian architecture for the Atlante Architettura Contemporanea project, commissioned by MiBAC and by MUFOCO. In the same year Caneve was nominated for the C/O Berlin Talent Award, Foam Paul Huf Award and the Gabriele Basilico Prize in Architecture and Landscape Photography.
As well as her artistic research, she has been teaching on the Master’s course in Photography at IUAV since 2019.
She is a co-founder of CALAMITA/À (2013–ongoing), a research platform that focuses on such themes as catastrophes, global changes, memory and politics.
In 2018, together with Gianpaolo Arena and Vulcano, she founded Osservatorio Cortina 2021.
Vittorio Mortarotti (Savigliano, 1982) has exhibited his work in such prestigious centres as the Fries Museum and the Casino Luxembourg and in international events such as Mois de la Photo in Paris and Manifesta, the travelling European biennial of contemporary art. His projects probe the consequences that the great events of History have on individual destinies and the reconstruction dynamics of memory, constantly poised between the biographical and autobiographical dimension.
In 2015, together with Anush Hamzehian, he won the Leica Prize at the Images Vevey biennial with his series Eden, subsequently exhibited also at the Blue Project Foundation in Barcelona and at the MAXXI in Rome; he also published his first book, with Skinnerboox. 2018 saw the release of his first documentary, Monsieur Kubota, realised again with Anush Hamzehian and co-produced by France 2.
In 2019 he had his first solo Italian show with the work The First Day of Good Weather, exhibited at Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia.
Through a variety of media, the research of Laura Pugno (Trivero, 1975) centres on the landscape, a delicate frontier poised between nature and culture, which the artist subjects to a process of fragmentation, demolishing the system-landscape. Pugno’s works call into question the anthropocentric stance, breaking it up so that other unexpected viewpoints and new ways of analysing reality emerge. Her works have been exhibited in museums and foundations such as the MART in Rovereto, Mattatoio in Roma, Casa Masaccio in Arezzo, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, MAN in Nuoro, and abroad in the MAGASIN in Grenoble, Forum Stadtpack in Graz with which she won the Q-International Spring award, the Rome Quadriennale, and the Nida Art Colony in Lithuania.
In 2014 she won the Premio Cairo. Since 2018 her permanent installation Primati is on show in the Saussurea Botanic Garden in Courmayeur. She was a co-founder in 2007 of the Diogene Project, a residential programme for artists, which she was part of until 2017.
She is represented in Italy by Alberto Peola Gallery.
Davide Tranchina (Bologna, 1972) explores the invisible through photography, installations and video. His projects probe the manifestations of immaterial themes, such as the infinite, distance and energy, frequently resorting to camera-less photography.
His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries. In 2009 he was one of the artists invited to Prague Biennale 4. His research 40 notti a Montecristo was premiered at the exhibition Perduti nel paesaggio, at the MART in Rovereto in 2014. In 2016 he was invited to create a special project for 2016. Nuove esplorazioni, as part of Fotografia Europea at Reggio Emilia. In 2019 he was among the artists present in And What About Photography?, at the David Nolan Gallery in New York.
His images have been included in publications on Italian and international photography. He won the fourth edition of the Francesco Fabbri Award for Contemporary Arts 2015, in the contemporary photography section.
His works have been acquired by the permanent collections of the Civic Gallery of Modena, UniCredit / MAMbo Bologna, MART in Rovereto, and UBI – Banca Popolare in Bergamo.
He lives and works between Bologna and Milan, where he teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Brera Academy.