Until November 28, the MAST Foundation of Bologna presents the Biennale Foto / Industria 2021, the fifth edition of the event dedicated to the culture of work.

Until November 28, the MAST Foundation of Bologna presents the Biennale Foto / Industria 2021, the fifth edition of the event dedicated to the culture of work.

The Biennale Foto/Industria 2021 (fifth edition, in Bologna from 14 October to 28 November) brings in 10 iconic places of the city 11 exhibitions on the theme Food, food, declined in 11 surprising ways by the artists and photographers on display. The Biennale Foto / Industria 2021 is organized by the MAST Foundation (Manufacture of Arts, Experimentation and Technology), creator of the first photographic archive dedicated to work and to industry (with pieces from the late nineteenth century to today) and promoter of the culture of making through free exhibitions and cultural events.

The Food theme at the Biennale Foto / Industria 2021

The curator and artistic director of the Biennale Foto / Industria 2021 is Francesco Zanot to whom we asked the reasons for choosing this theme: Food.

"Because it contains many others, all important and highly topical: history and our past, climate change, the economy, sustainability, cultural identity, the future. The photographers raised many issues: the impact of the food industry on the territory, the relationship between food and geography, the mechanization of agriculture and livestock, organic food, markets and local traditions, fishing and hunting, the standardization of fast food".

Food to understand a civilization (and photography to tell about it)

Francesco Zanot continues: «food is a fundamental indicator for analyzing and understanding a civilization. The way in which foods are produced, sold and consumed change constantly and therefore contain the distinctive characteristics of an era and a cultural and social environment. And photography is the perfect way to tell them because, just like food, it spreads messages, it carries out a process of remediation. In addition, like the food industry, it evolves with the evolution of technology. This is why on display are black and white photos of the Favignana trap, taken in 1951 by the German Herbert List, but also digital collages and videos by Englishman Mishka Henner or installations by Palestinian photographer Vivien Sansour. In short, in this edition of the Biennale, photography and food combine to trigger a series of reflections on the complexity of the food issue».

La Biennale Foto / Industria 2021: what to see and where

The 11 photographers on display at the Biennale Foto / Industria 2021 , all of international standing, thus offer visitors a journey that is both a journey through time (from the 1928 shots by Hans Finsler to those, of 2010, by Takashi Homma) and in space: from Africa to Japan, from the United States to Europe. Let's see them together.

  • Esprit Nouveau Pavilion:
    Among the many locations, let's start with an exclusive gem on the occasion of this Biennale: the exceptional opening to the public of the Esprit Nouveau Pavilion designed by Le Corbusier and faithfully reconstructed in Bologna by a group of local architects in the 1970s (only the space is worth a visit, Piazza della Costituzione 11). In this unique and extraordinary building, the Japanese photographer Takashi Homma exhibits M + Trails, a series of shots that compare the facades of McDonald's stores in different countries of the world, pausing on the countless similarities that refer to the standardization of the proposed food, with photos of the traces of blood on the snow left by the deer hunters of the island of Hokkaido.
  • In the headquarters of the MAST Foundation (in via Speranza 42), instead, a large exhibition dedicated to the work of Ando Gilardi.
    Photographer, journalist, critic and historian of photography, Ando Gilardi (born in 1921), who has always been interested in the themes of work, is celebrated at the Mast with the exhibition entitled Fototeca, a tribute to the National Historical Photo Library founded by him in 1959 and which today preserves 500,000 images. On display, a selection of shots by Gilardi, starting from the photo investigations of the 1950s and 1960s dedicated to working in the fields, and those collected, obviously related to the theme of food. From tissue paper to wrap oranges (which together tell a piece of our country's history), to Liebig figurines, herbaria, cookie boxes and vintage advertisements.
  • Only two other Italians present this year: Maurizio Montagna and Lorenzo Vitturi. The first, in a particular location such as the Museum of Zoology of the University of Bologna (via Francesco Selmi 3), among hundreds of stuffed animals, presents Fisheye, a photographic survey on fishing in the Valsesia area (here fishing is one of the oldest traditions in the world). Vitturi, on the other hand, in a hall of Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande (via Castiglione 7) presents Money Must Be Made! , a large installation of aerial photographs and colorful still life made in the studio all dedicated to the Balogun market, the largest street market in the world located in Lagos, Nigeria, where the artist worked at the invitation of the African Artists Foundation. An exhibition that reflects on a boundless and fragile ecosystem at the same time, where the invasion of goods (many made in China) comes to terms with the global economy and local poverty.
  • In Palazzo Fava (via Manzoni 2) not to be missed Favignana , the exhibition of one of the greatest exponents of metaphysical photography, the German Herbert List, with his 1951 reportage (when he joined Magnum) dedicated to the trap that once characterized the life and work of this Sicilian island. On display, 41 black and white photographs documenting all the stages, from slaughtering to tuna processing, of this ancient and violent practice (which has now disappeared) that gave work to the whole island.
  • In the spaces of the former church of San Giorgio in Poggiale (now home to a library, via Nazario Sauro 20), on the other hand, it thrones back to the 1920s with the work of the Swiss Hans Finsler and the exhibition Schokoladenfabrik, in collaboration with the Rolla foundation: a series of photos taken in 1928 on commission by the German confectionery factory Most. On display, still life of chocolate and Martian miniatures that are ennobled to the rank of sculptures. Not to be missed also for the evocative works by Claudio Parmeggiani and Piero Pizzi Cannella which dominate the reading room and which frame Finsler's work.
  • A Palazzo Zambeccari (via Dè Carbonesi 11) In the Belly of the Beast by the English artist Mishka Henner literally accompanies visitors " in the belly of the beast "starting from the images of google Earth, which he wisely used for macrocollages depicting the largest cattle farms in the world, up to the videos found on Youtube of animals that ingest video cameras or cameras fallen from passing drones . An exhibition on the relationship between technology, animals and man, according to a process made up of consumption, digestion and waste. And the industrial production of food is dedicated to Food, the work of the Dutch Henk Wildschut, at Palazzo Paltroni (via delle Donzelle 2), the fruit of three years of research for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam between 2011 and 2013: from farms with tens of thousands of animals to endless greenhouses in which the volumes and times of growth of tomatoes and other vegetables are accelerated. An impressive journey into the “behind the scenes” of what we eat every day and which confronts us with ethical issues of not an easy solution.
  • At Mambo, Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (via don Minzoni 14) the Laboratory of Forms exhibition presents the works of the American painter and photographer Jan Groover who, in the late seventies, created a long series of wonderful still life using only the utensils of her kitchen, a clear symbolic reference to the struggles of the feminist movement. In all, 160 works that evoke her pictorial matrix (a comparison with a painting by Giorgio Morandi is also on display) in an installation that recreates the artist's kitchen and represents the first retrospective ever dedicated to her in our country.
  • Domestic environment also for the installation of the Palestinian artist and photographer Vivien Sansour at Palazzo Boncompagni (via del Monte 8): a large table set and an overflowing kitchen fruit and seeds, the last stage of the work that the artist began about 10 years ago by engaging in the recovery and enhancement of ancient varieties of seeds. The project of the Palestine Heriloom Seede Library is hers, a theme that touches on extraordinary economic and geopolitical issues that Sansour manages, however, to decline with delicacy and offering visitors a very pleasant multisensory journey.
  • Another journey through time and space, finally, is offered by Factory of Original Desires , an exhibition by the French Bernard Plossu , at Palazzo Fava (Via Manzoni 2), a series of black and white shots that tell the story of food all over the world: from the street vendors of Bari vecchia to the diners of the American West to the still life of a form of Camambert. Still lifes and landscapes photographed in 50 years of travel and reportage signed by one of the protagonists of French photography.

Cover photo:

• landscape (black and white): BERNARD PLOSSU, Los Angeles, USA
• portrait (in color): LORENZO VITTURI, 16th Floor Aerial View