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‘FOTOGRAFE!’ at Villa Bardini. Exploring the show’s photographers

Viewing Uslenghi's portraits, ph. Federica Narducci


Explore several highlights from 'FOTOGRAFE!' at Villa Bardini, from June 18 to October 2, 2022.

Wulz sisters / Uslenghi and Belli

Co-curators Emanuella Sestri and Walter Guadagnini envisioned ‘FOTOGRAFE!’ as a way of creating a dialogue by finding contemporary photographers whose work displays certain affinities with the Alinari Foundation for Photography’s historical archive. Their intent, says Sestri, was to “breathe new life into the works of the past, and see the works of the present under a different light.”


The Wulz sisters are very well-known for their playful attitude and their ability to move deftly in front of and behind the camera. Their skill is evidenced in their early photographs, from the 1920s exhibited in the Sala Piccola. Photographer Federica Belli once told me that she began photographing adolescents, when she was still an adolescent, and it helped her communicate with her peers and to mitigate some of the angst of that phase in life. In this room, her ‘adolescent series’ from that time, is in dialogue with historic young women, now icons. Sofia Uslenghi is deeply interested in self-portraiture. She is the only human protagonist she photographs.

Federica Belli, The Lens (Through Which We See Ourselves) 2018


In Sala Wulz, visitors explore several examples of portraiture by the Wulz sisters, from their 5,000+ picture archive in the Alinari Archives, which is being researched thanks to a grant gifted to the Alinari Foundation for Photography by Calliope Arts.

Wunderbar, Wanda Wulz, Alinari Foundation for Photography

Wunderbar / Gymnast / Jazz Band

Several photographs on display bear witness to Wanda Wulz’s relationship with Futurism, and how her photography from the twenties and early thirties exemplified the movement’s directives, to the point that she is remembered as one of Futurism’s major exponents, despite the brevity of her dedication to it. Io + gatto is Wanda Wulz’s most famous photograph. This merging of two negatives that catapulted her to the forefront of the avant-garde scene…


Schiaparelli / Camber / Dannunziana

For the whole of their professional lives, from the late 1920s when they inherited their father’s studio in Trieste to the 1980s – the Wulz sisters were dedicated to portraiture. The show bears witness to the fact that the Wulz studio was a meeting place for the emergent modern woman.


War scenes

Although Wanda is the more famous Wulz sister, the exhibition shines a spotlight on Marion as well. Like many early women photographers, she had great technical skills. Yet, she also had an interest in documentary photographs, evidenced by her series documenting the last days of World War II in Trieste…


Other photographers

This section of the show also features a sprinkling of other women photographers, including Ghita Carel, Madame D’Ora and Germaine Krull – who were also placing women at the center of their pictures.


SALA Giulia Parlato

Giulia Parlato’s work takes us to places that are steeped in memory. They are fragments of the collective imagination. Parlato often captures scenes of ‘evidence being gathered’, or relics being found – and yet, we as viewers are constantly forced to face the glaring fact: pieces are missing. Parlato’s pictures strive to represent history and modern society’s relationship to it.


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