Via Medardo Rosso
19, 20159 Milano MI
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UNSEEN / NON VISTI
Looking at Europe. Four photographers on the road
Jutta Benzenberg, Andrei Liankevich, Livio Senigalliesi, Mila Teshaieva
curator: Gabi Scardi
Collective Photography Exhibition
1 February – 3 March 2019
supported by Milan City Council
Opening on January 31st at 7pm
in the presence of the photographers and the curator
There is an unseen Europe untouched by the economic development and the attention of politics and the media. There is a Europe that was productive and competitive before the crisis. Now its younger inhabitants abandon it. Four photographers, Jutta Benzenberg, Andrei Liankevich, Livio Senigalliesi, Mila Teshaieva, traveled through the rural areas and the small towns of Albania, the vast marshland of Polesia in Belarus, Saxony Anhalt (in former East Germany) and the Italian Sulcis coalmining district in Sardinia, where they told the story of what is most deeply rooted and vulnerable: the family.
Curated by Gabi Scardi, the exhibition bears witness to the ‘side effects’ of the great changes that have taken place in the last few decades on the old continent, revealing both the widespread common features and the diversities. The exhibition grew out of a project of the Goethe-Institut Mailand set up in 2017: “In the Shadows – Families in Europe”. The project’s goal was to investigate the effects of the rapid transformation of Europe on the family in some of its areas that until recently had been productive and competitive, but which are today suffering from crisis and outmigration. The investigation took place through the eyes of photographers from different countries in Europe: Jutta Benzenberg from Albania, Andrei Liankevich from Belarus, Livio Senigalliesi from Italy and Mila Teshaieva from Germany. They all undertook one or more trips in their own country as well as in one of the others, providing on one side a change in perspective and, on the other, also discovering something in their own country. For instance, Livio e Andrei went to Sardinia and Polesia, whereas Mila and Jutta to Albania and Saxony.
Each photographer was accompanied by an expert or journalist with a thorough knowledge of the area. The exhibition shows a selection of the photos taken. What emerges from the multiple lookings and levels of interpretation are the lives and microhistories of the people encountered during the trips, the layers of experiences, and the complexity of each area. This makes the exhibition into a kind of choral mapmaking – though only a partial one – of the most hidden areas on the fringes of Europe.
The exhibition is made up of four groups of photographs subdivided by author. The works are in many different sizes and formats, in each case consistent with the individual photographer’s intention. On display are portraits and interiors alternating with figures immersed in the places where people live and their daily surroundings, objects, architectures, familiar landscapes and other things. This brings out the authors’ different readings of the places: objective, documentary, anthropological, sociological, and also their more sensitive, intimate, almost inquiring approaches.
To restore vividness to these stories, alongside the pictures are some videos and texts by some of the photographers and their ‘companions’ during the trips. There are on average about thirty photos from each author.
The stages of the exhibition
The exhibition opens in Milan and then moves to Rome in the spring from 21 March to 26 May at the Museo di Roma in the Trastevere district. In September 2019 it will be on in Minsk for “Photography Month” and immediately afterwards in Tirana for “German October”. It ends at the beginning of 2020 with the last stage in Halle at the Kunststiftung des Sachsen-Anhalts (Art Foundation of Saxony Anhalt).
She continued in Albania a line of research she has been working on for about twenty years, travelling around the country in an attempt to let “forgotten” people speak out and talk about their lives. Here she concentrated on the reality in the small town of Adriatik City.
On the other side, the project encouraged her to rediscover her homeland, Germany, where she went to see the real situation in previously neglected places such as Bitterfeld-Wolfen and Halle in former East Germany.
Among the photos she took, the intense expressive portraits of children stand out strongly. There are also numerous fragments of everyday life and pictures of
outdoors, places and abandoned pieces of architecture on the edge of towns.
Jutta Benzenberg studied photography at the Staatliche Fachakademie für Fotodesign in Munich and has since worked as a photographer for various photography and theatre reviews. In 1991, she made her first trip through Albania in the company of writer Ardian Klosi to document the upheaval of that time, taking snap portraits and immortalising landscapes. After numerous journeys in Albania, in the spring of 1993 they jointly published the book Albanisches Überleben [Albanian Survival] in Salzburg. Their second book Bukuri e rëndë [Sombre Beauty], sponsored by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, came out in Tirana in 2004. The works in this publication have been put on display in exhibitions such as those at the Biennial Arts Festival Tirana (Albania), Think Pink (Pristina, Croatia), and the Goethe-Institut in Thessaloniki and in Athens (Greece). Her last individual and collective exhibitions have been in Rumania, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, USA (Washington DC) and Latin America. From 2013 to 2014 she was official photographer to Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania. She is now living in Tirana.
Andrei Liankevich chose to make ordinary life visible. His project is dedicated in one part to the lonely elderly, especially women, who populate the marshlands of the Polesia region in Belarus and in the other to today’s and yesterday’s miners in Sardinia, with their common respect for the mountains and a life marked by work in the mines. He travelled in Belarus, his native land, and in Italy in order to rediscover not only life and work in these countries, but also the myths, traditions and legends that still live on. The worn faces of men and women alternate with landscapes and history-based reinterpretations of the Sardinian mines.
He was born in Grodno in 1981 and lives in Minsk. In 2014, he founded the photography festival “Minsk Photography Month” and since then has been its director. The idea behind the festival is to promote photography as a form of art.
For this project Livo Senigalliesi went around places in Italy and Belarus where time has stood still. His photographs of Sardinia bear witness to the grand industrial archaeology of the pits and rundown buildings, the beliefs and rituals like the Santa Barbara procession, and the life of those who were born and have lived in these places and suffered down the mines. The portrayed faces of the inhabitants of Polesia show the signs of another time, life led at a pace far from modern frenzy and people abandoned to themselves.
Born in Milan in 1956, Senigalliesi began his career as a photojournalist in the late 1970s, using his camera as an instrument for a social analysis.
From the end of the 1980s, he turned his attention to international current affairs and published full reports in the main national and international newspapers.
Livio Senigalliesi is driven by a great passion for his work. Photography is for him a means to witness historical events of the last few decades. This led him to hotspots like the Middle East and Kurdistan during the Gulf War, divided Berlin and its reunification, Moscow during the days of the coup that sanctioned the end of the Soviet Union, and Sarajevo, where he experienced with the people the longest siege in history.
He followed all the phases of the conflict in Yugoslavia and documented the atrocious consequences of wars and acts of genocide in Africa and South-East Asia.
In the last few years he focused on two projects: civil victims of conflicts and the condition of immigrants, investigating the migratory routes in the Mediterranean and the schemes for welcoming asylum seekers in Italy.
Besides exhibitions and books, he creates educational projects for school students so that his eye-witness accounts bring young people closer to the themes of peace and war and to an understanding of forced migrations.
Having always been interested in ways of building a collective and individual memory in Europe, for this project Mila Teshaieva decided to explore areas in Germany and Albania which, though profoundly different in respect of infrastructures and the economy, share the same sense of an “interruption” of growth. In these difficult situations, her images highlight moments of common life, solidarity and willpower.
She was born in 1974, grew up in Kiev and now lives in Berlin. Her work concentrates principally on themes associated with structured social identities and the political manipulation of memory and history, combining documentary-style approaches with artistic interpretations. Her output has been shown in museums and galleries worldwide with recent exhibitions at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen Berlin, Haggerty Museum of Art Milwaukee, USA, Alma Lov Museum Sweden and Museum Kunst der Westküste in Alkersum, Germany. She has published the monographs Promising Waters, Kehrer Verlag 2013, and InselWesen, Kehrer Verlag 2016, as well as Faces and Stories of Entrepreneurs, commissioned and published by SDC (the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) in 2015. Her works have appeared in Time Magazine, Die Zeit, GEO and the Financial Times. Alongside her own projects, she often works also for projects commissioned by international organisations for development like GIZ (the German company for international cooperation), SDC, UNICEF and others. She is part of the renowned Ostkreuz photography agency in Berlin.
General information and contacts
Unseen / Non visti
Looking at Europe. Four photographers on the road
the four photographers and the curator will be attending the opening reception on January 31st at 7pm
Exhibition on view through March 3rd, 2019, open Wed-Sat 10am-1pm / 4-7pm
Via Medardo Rosso 19, Milan – Italy
mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / tel 02 4548 1569
Via San Paolo, 10 – Milan
ph. +39 02 7769171
Milan – Chiara Sermoneta – email@example.com – ph. +39 02 77691732 – +39 347.5823322
Rome – Elisa Costa – firstname.lastname@example.org – ph. +39 06 84400566 – +39 345.2909875