Twelve photographic stories return the gaze of as many authors in the interrupted time of the pandemic: physical and mental landscapes designed by the coronavirus in Italy closed and suspended in the early months of 2020

Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome

February 25 - June 13 2021

The itinerary of the exhibition Italia in-waiting 12 photographic stories unfolds through the majestic architecture of Palazzo Barberini, from the admirable setting of the Nymphaeum of Bacchus in the Sala delle Colonne to the evocative spaces of the Serra, to present the works commissioned to Italian photographers of different generations as part of a dedicated project to the creation of a visual archive of Italy during the health emergency.

The artists and the artists involved – Olivo Barbieri, Antonio Biasiucci, Silvia Camporesi, Mario Cresci, Paola De Pietri, Ilaria Ferretti, Guido Guidi, Andrea Jemolo, Francesco Jodice, Allegra Martin, Walter Niedermayr, George Tatge – are recognized interpreters of photography, of different generations and attitudes, who have developed through their research a vocation to listen to places and collective heritage.

The selected authors have created photographic projects that tell the emptiness and suspension in ordinary life in an extraordinary moment like the pandemic: they have probed urban and extra-urban landscapes, sites and places of culture of the beautiful country, their places and the next ones.

The images range from different genres and generations, between methods and techniques, between experimentation and tradition. The intent of the project is in fact to create a choral and polyphonic story, while at the same time taking into account how the lockdown and the health emergency may have influenced the gaze of some of the main Italian visual narrators.

More than one hundred photographs exhibited along a path that winds through five different rooms of Palazzo Barberini (Sala delle Colonne, Twentieth-century kitchens, Sala Ovale, Sala Paesaggi, Serra) – three of which open to the public for the first time on this occasion – creating an evocative dialogue between present and past, history and current events, architecture and image.

Thinking in images in the interrupted time of the pandemic, looking at the physical and mental landscape drawn by the coronavirus. This is the input given to the 12 authors, each invited to create a very personal project on Italy closed and suspended in the early months of 2020.

In uno scenario unico, silenzioso, quasi irreale, i racconti fotografici narrano storie di un mondo stra-ordinario: sono sequenze di visioni inattese e innaturali che mescolano luoghi del patrimonio culturale italiano e dello spazio mentale e intimo delle autrici e degli autori: paesaggi e piazze, orizzonti e spazi pubblici, opere d’arte e oggetti quotidiani.

Far from the stereotypes of the beautiful country, the images speak of bewildered landscapes that marry sublime beauty with the perception of a profound crisis, where the lush nature that progressively fills urban spaces is matched by emptiness and the absence of human life. They are partial, subjective stories that introduce us to new points of view, modifying the usual narrative poetics of physical space.

The path creates surprising photographic forays and unusual dialogues inside and with the monumental environments that become the unexpected physical space, historical and at the same time contemporary, that welcomes the visual story of Italy in 2020.

Promoted by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism and created by the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity and by the Central Institute for Catalog and Documentation (ICCD), in collaboration with the National Galleries of Ancient Art - Palazzo Barberini, the exhibition Italia in-waiting 12 photographic storie is edited by Margherita Guccione, Carlo Birrozzi, Flaminia Gennari Santori.

Italy in-waiting represents one of the three distinct but complementary initiatives of the 2020FermoImmagine project. Together with the exhibition Città suspended. The Italian Unesco sites in the days of the lockdown and a Refocus, open call for photographers under 40, investigates Italy during the containment measures of the pandemic.

The images produced for Italy in-waiting and Cities suspended will become part of the ICCD collections and will be allocated to a fund dedicated to the documentation of the months of the health emergency in Italy.