An author's gaze – the unmistakable one of Gianluca Vassallo – returns a city eager to take back its future. Starting with its famous literature festival scheduled for September

A year ago the Festivaletteratura a called Gianluca Vassallo to create a photographic project dedicated to the city of Mantua which would have been the heart of the 2020 Almanac, a special publication created by the famous event in an absolutely out of the ordinary period: a collective volume with the contribution of more of 160 authors of the event.

Until 12 September 2021 the images of the Almanac, along with many other traces of an exciting photographic reportage, are in the rooms of Palazzo Te protagonists of the Soliloqui (Soliloquies) exhibition, organized by Festivaletteratura and the Palazzo Te Foundation with the support of the BAM Foundation and Foscarini.

he exhibition represents first of all an opportunity to regain possession of the spaces of the city through the gaze of the photographer, waiting for the Festivaletteratura which from 8 to 12 September 2021 will return to inhabit the streets and squares of Mantua, beyond the spaces of the ether celebrating its twenty-five years with an edition which will be attended by over 250 authors with more live appointments than last year.

For Vassallo the observation of the urban landscape becomes the means to read the human landscape, and through the streets and squares of Mantua he returns the portrait of a city marked by the pandemic but more than ever eager to take back its own future.

“To interpret. Becoming aware of the dense web of conditions and suggestions that are activated the moment the photographer is in front of an architecture, a landscape, a monument. And to tell, in the dense and tense time in which the selection process takes place, what makes the image emerge from the chaos of possibilities. A gesture of salvation from all rhetoric and clichés” observes the curator of the exhibition, Emanuela Manca.

“In the work Soliloqui, Gianluca Vassallo interprets and tells the city in its organic and urban nature, as a physical embodiment of the social structure and as an act of power, a paradigm of human life but at the same time dehumanizing. We perceive a condition of emptiness and suspension of meaning, which underlies the intimate reflection that the author knows how to translate into images of great rigor”.

“The formal choices are in fact essential and measured, based on a visual minimalism of exceptional composure. Each portion of the framed reality leaves room for the imagination, expressing a metaphorical and evocative quality in a decisive manner” continues the curator. “The visual architecture of Gianluca Vassallo seems to be placed in a provisional dimension: between objectivity and subjectivity, an oblique territory between the truth of the places investigated and the author's vision. A photograph that inhabits the world”.

With Soliloqui the threads of a path started last year and which will end in September on the occasion of Festivaletteratura 2021 with a photographic laboratory held by Gianluca Vassallo himself, in which the photographer will share his personal way of observing the landscape with the public urban.

For the duration of the exhibition it will be possible to purchase the prints of the photographs of the Soliloqui series signed by the author: the proceeds will go to support the next edition of the festival. For information and purchase: