Monumental in the setting, discreet in the photographic gaze, at the 'right distance'. Raymond Depardon's exhibition at the Triennale enchanted us, we explain why

It's a real encounter - dense and intense - the one with the vision of Raymond Depardon, which sometimes moves, others shakes. You feel the constant search for reality undertaken by the French photographer and filmmaker. A search in the ordinary, in common faces, in realities 'minor'. A research filtered with rare sensitivity and extreme delicacy. An eye that scrutinizes, with respect and humanity, the margins, sometimes the last ones.

Three hundred photos , some in very large format, and 2 films on 1300 meters squares of exhibition spaces. It is a monumental exhibition, which dialogues with the large windows, the light and the garden of the  Palazzo dellArte, the one that Triennale Milano and Fondation Cartier pour dell'arte contemporain dedicated to the work of Raymond Depardon: it covers different times and spaces of the world, from France to New York passing through ' Italy, it crosses cities and countryside, but also former asylums, to give the floor to their inhabitants.

It is an exhibition that returns all the explosive narrative charge that photography can have, a certain type of photography.

Giving a voice to faces and places

In constant search of the right distance, Depardon meets his subjects with discretion, building a relationship with patience with beings or places, giving voice to those who have none, revealing, or rather interpreting, each landscape as the place of a human experience through the lens of a camera or a video camera.

Huge wandering panels in search of the right distance

Specially conceived by Raymond Depardon for the Milan Triennale, Modern life, under the general direction of Hervé Chandès, was conceived with the artist Jean-Michel Alberola, who gave his rhythm to the itinerary in the frame of the scenography signed by Théa Alberola.

Exhibited until 12 June, 2022, the luminous setting of the largest exhibition ever dedicated to the artist is punctuated by huge prints of photographs from the series Errance, installed on full-height panels, which invite to experiment the relationship with a landscape deliberately devoid of any precise location, and to seek the right distance, physical and emotional, from the subject.

For each room, a color, a chapter, a season

The exhibition itinerary unfolds in rooms, each identified by a different, characterizing and contrasting color, which house eight chapters of Depardon's photographic seasons - from New York to Glasgow from rural France to Italia - returned in black and white or color.

From minor to rural France, from New York to Piedmont

Eight photographic series, different yet similar, in color and black and white, which cross and contaminate to give back the complexity by Raymond Depardon.

La France (2004-2010) of Depardon is the ordinary and daily one of the 'sub-prefectures', of squares and bars, post offices and petrol stations. Another France is revealed with the Rural series (1990-2018) in which the artist, born into a peasant family, returns to his origins. Communes (2020) instead offers a timeless image of the southern areas of your country.

Then there are the bold shots of the photographs from the Manhattan Out series (1980), accompanied by the short film New York, NY (1986), which evoke urban solitude and indifference individualist. There is also Piedmont (2001), where he develops 'proximity art', underlining the transalpine geographical and cultural continuity.

Among the most vibrant rooms, unexpectedly, Glasgow

Metallic light, poverty, suburbs, desolation. And contrasts: glimpses of bright colors that reveal a restless life. Among the most vibrant rooms, the series of color photographs of Glasgow, emphasized by peacock blue walls. Made in 1980 for the Sunday Times Magazine, the monochrome of the works unexpectedly lights up through splits of bright colors, from the red of a car to green from a meadow to the pink of a bubble gum balloon.

The hardest and most intense cross section

Exciting, heartbreaking, moving. Painful yet overflowing with profound humanity. The 56 black and white photographs of the San Clemente series look like paintings, completed by an excerpt from the film made in 1980, which explore the frontiers of mental illness, its ambiguity and complexity.

They arouse compassion. A compassion that should not be understood as pity, but participation in the suffering of the other. Not a feeling of pain from top to bottom, but an intimate communion, very difficult, which if undertaken with respect (the right distance, in fact) leads to unity deep, pure.

The relationship of trust with Franco Basaglia

At the end of the seventies, Raymond Depardon embarks on a journey to discover the reality of the psychiatric hospitals of Trieste, Naples, Arezzo and the island of San Clemente, in Venice. He establishes a relationship of trust and collaboration with Franco Basaglia, a pioneer of modern psychiatry who has played a fundamental role in the process of dismantling psychiatric institutions, which encourages him to conceive what is now counted among the more intense testimonies on life in asylums on the eve of the adoption of the Legge 180 (Basaglia Law) of 1978.

Photographing without bothering

Depardon is confronted with the need to photograph without disturbing, to find a suitable place, the right distance, but also to move in the face of so much pain”, document their suffering” to prevent it from falling into oblivion. I don't feel protected by the camera at all, which looks more like a gun than a camera” will say.

The itinerary of the Triennale. To visit

The exhibition dedicated to Raymond Depardon joins the other proposals of the Triennale, including the new, permanent Sala Sottass, surrounded by the first exhibition dedicated to the master (we wrote about it here), the double exhibition dedicated to Gastel (we talked about it here) , the tribute to Saul Steinberg and the photographs of Giovanna Silva installed along the brutalist staircase of the Palazzo dell’Arte (both covered here), in addition to new Museum of Italian Design, here we explain why it has become 'talking'.

A multifaceted and emotional path that embraces design, art, photography, graphics and creativity, of drawing and thinking. We recommend that you visit the Palazzo dell’Arte, perhaps in the morning, when there is ’ there are few people and a lot of light. It will be a magical journey.