For those who were born and lived on the Po, the moist breath of the Great River is perceptible even when they are far from it. The Po is felt in the air: from the smell, from the emptiness that one senses on the water guided by the banks, at the same time limit and landing place, end and beginning. It flows slow, powerful, calm in the deceptive stillness of its deep waters, now sweet in raising locks and streams of foam, now ready to get angry suddenly when the flood arrives and to drag away everything they encounter on their path.
A plain of water
On its banks, on certain summer nights the air is so humid and dense that you can't breathe. In autumn, however, there are evenings that leave the taste of fog in the mouth. A mist to breathe, which weighs down the movements, at times tarnishes the soul, becomes part of oneself. A plain of water, air and fog with its scents of herbs and ditches, its flat horizons, its trees that in spring swell with a very tender green compact.
The thread, a territorial seam
Curated by Ilaria Campioli and Andrea Tinterri, the beautiful exhibition Il filo e il fiume by Paolo Simonazzi is an investigation into the subtle identity plots linked to the largest Italian river, evoked through the image of the "thread", a recurring element in the shots and metaphor of “territorial stitching”. Hosted in the halls of the historic Palazzo Pigorini in Parma (Strada della Repubblica 29 / a) until 8 May, organized by the Bondeno Cultura Association (ABC) in collaboration with the Municipality of Parma as part of the official program of Parma Capital of Culture 2020 + 21, the exhibition offers a selection of twenty shots, all of large format, taken from the project created by the Reggio photographer between 2013 and 2021 and dedicated to the Po and the territories it crosses.
Po Valley: landscapes, people, places
The absolute protagonist, the heavy and inexorable flow of the Po, which appears even when it is not photographed directly: its presence emerges in the surrounding landscape and in the people who inhabit the places crossed by its waters. The "thread" to which the title refers is an evocation of the river form, a physical element that appears repeatedly in the photographs. The result is an anthology of different but related landscapes, united by the presence of the river, part of a world perhaps in danger of extinction of which the author gives us visual traces.
The identity of a river
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog published by Silvana Editoriale, which collects the entire series consisting of 56 shots and two critical contributions by Davide Papotti and Francesco Zanot. Both in the images on display and in those in the volume, the river becomes both an evocative background and an implicit presence: as Papotti writes: "It is explored by subtraction, almost always excluding the very image of the water, to try to investigate as far as it can to push the fluvial identity inland ".
Photographic and musical inspirations
The project is openly inspired by the work Sleeping by the Mississippi by the American photographer Alec Soth, a survey conducted in 2004 along the course of the great American river. The title, Il filo e il fiume, refers to the album The river and the thread (2014) by Rosanne Cash, in which the American singer-songwriter (daughter of Johnny Cash) retraces the southern United States in search of the past and memories of his family.
Plan your visit
Days and opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 3.30pm - 7.30pm / Saturday and Sunday: 10.30am - 7.30pm. Admission to the exhibition, free of charge, will be managed in accordance with the provisions of the law in force for safety and prevention measures in the context of the Coronavirus emergency (Super Green Pass mandatory).