An anthological show with the photography by Letizia Battaglia will be hosted at Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice.
From 20 March 2019 to 18 August 2019 | Casa dei Tre Oci, Venice
From 20 March to 18 August 2019, the Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice will be hosting a large-scale anthological show of the work by Letizia Battaglia (Palermo 1935), one of the most significant protagonists of Italian photography, and it will range over her whole career. The show, curated by Francesca Alfano Miglietti, organised by Civita Tre Venezie, promoted by the Fondazione di Venezia, and with the participation of Tendercapital, presents 300 photographs, many of which have never been exhibited before, and which reveal the social and political context in which they were shot. The selection of photos, undertaken together with the Letizia Battaglia archive, from the first had the help of Marta Sollima and, for the search for further choices, of Maria Chiara Di Trapani. The exhibition itinerary will focus on those arguments that have been at the heart of the most characteristic expressive aspects of Letizia Battaglia and that have led her to make a deep and continuous social criticism while avoiding clichés and questioning the visual premises of contemporary culture. The portraits of women, men, animals, and children are only some of the chapters that make up the show; added to these are photos of cities such as Palermo, and then those devoted to politics, life, death, love, as well as two films that inquire into her human and artistic activities. The result is a genuine portrait of Letizia Battaglia, a nonconformist intellectual but also a poetic and political photographer, a woman who interests herself in what surrounds her and in what, distant from her, arouses herinterest.
As she herself has said, “I have experienced photography as a document, as an interpretation, and as many other things […]. I have experienced it as salvation and as truth”. She also stated, “I am a person and not just a photographer. Photography is part of me, but it is not the absolute part, even if it takes up so much time.” Speaking of Letizia Battaglia’s career, Francesca Alfano Miglietti remarks, “What the exhibition project aims at showing are ‘forms of attention’: something that comes about even before the photos, because Letizia Battaglia questions herself about everything that her eyes fall on, perhaps a murder or a child, a view or a gathering, a person or the sky. Looking has been her main activity and has ‘materialised’ in extraordinary images”. Known above all for having recorded with her photos what the mafia has represented for her city, from murders to mourning, from political intrigues to the struggle represented by Falcone and Borsellino, during her career Letizia Battaglia has also recounted the life of the poor and public uprisings, always with her city as the centre of her observations of reality, as well as its urban landscape. Letizia Battaglia “treats” her work almost as a poster, exhibiting her convictions in a direct, true, poetic, and educated manner, thus revolutionising the role of news photography. She learned her technique while “on the street”, and her images at once distinguish themselves for their attempt to capture a powerful emotion and almost always a feeling of “pietas”. The subjects of Letizia, which are never selected by chance, trace out an itinerary aimed at strengthening her own ideologies and convictions about society, political involvement, marginalised situations, the violence provoked by power wars, and the emancipation of women. Many documentaries have investigated her figure both as a woman and as an artist, the most recent of which was presented at the 2019 edition of the Sundance Film Festival. The film Shooting the Mafia, directed by Kim Longinotto, recounts Letizia Battaglia as a journalist and artist who, with her camera and her own eventful life, is a firsthand witness to a historical period fundamental to Sicily and to Italy, the period that culminated in the barbarous slaughter of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Marsilio Editori with essays by Francesca Alfano Miglietti, Leoluca Orlando, Maria Chiara Di Trapani, Filippo La Mantia, and Paolo Ventura.