What makes of a place a neighbourhood ? When can one call the person sitting next to them in a café their neighbour? Does the traveler, staying in the hotel around the corner, or at their friend’s flat, become our neighbour, for the time of their stay? Are you, you who entered the shop, looking up and reading this paper, feeling like the neighbour of this space? If not, could you?
We could define a neighbourhood as a handful of streets where to wander, spend time, and remember. It is what Paolo Fornaroli’s photographs seem to suggest. The photographer is taking us on a walk, and we are invited to participate in the story he might have invented for himself. We become a character of the local scenes, from the moment we enter Atelier 80. And it will stay with us: the choice of a black and white film does not only please the eye in quest of a classic elegance, it contributes in building the telling of the neighbourhood for the viewer. The photographer subtly creates contemporary memories of the area for us, and, more importantly, of its people. Maybe we are the one captured while eating ice cream, we have passed by the students taking a break inside of the MuseumsQuartier. Or we did not have time to do any of this, and we had to pursue our everyday activities. Years are entangled in the pictures; generations are meeting in the square, museums stand alongside ephemeral coffee stands. And we already feel the nostalgia we might feel later, thinking about that day when we visited the number 80, on Neubaugasse.
The exhibition seems to suggest that a neighbourhood is eventually constituted of a space to meet, in which to look at pictures of the streets we have been wandering in during the day, a bit of wine for the opening, and the creation of a new memory for all of us in that present moment.
(text by Estelle Renaud)