Intended like a walk through landscapes, memories, seasons, travels and imagination, “Fratelli d’Italia” tells the photographic journey of three poets who, through their images, never ceased to evoke their roots as well as the home country they cherished. With no other ambition than to talk about what was happening around them, next door or almost, they brought us a new vision of the end of the world. From the Buona Terra to the Dolce Vita, the dry lands of Scanno to the beaches of Rimini, the tourists of Senigallia and the mist of the Po valley, all three of them, their own way, sought to capture a world about to disappear, from black and white to color.
In the early 1970’s, Claude Nori, born in Toulouse and son of an Italian immigrant couple from Verona, stumbled upon photography by chance. He learned it as an amateur, fed by Antonioni’s movies, his romantic fantasies and some happy holiday memories. A few years later, he founded Contrejour in Paris, a peculiar editorial concept dedicated to photography, all at once magazine, gallery and publishing house.
Contrejour became a true place of encounters and creativity and was key to the singular relationship Nori built with his two Italian brothers.
In 1978, he was the first one to introduce France to the work of his “companion” Luigi, through the publication of the French version of his cult book entitled “Kodachrome”. Fifteen years later, in 1992, Contrejour editions also published a major monographic book on Mario Giacomelli’s work -today expired- after Nori met him in Senigallia. These two events were crucial for Nori as an editor-photographer, since the insight of these two masters, who he well knew and listened to, so deeply inspired his own vision and love for photography.
The exhibition “Fratelli d’Italia” draws its inspiration from this fruitful relationship and features an exclusive selection of the respective work of these three artists across the two gallery rooms of Polka Galerie. The first room entitled “Mio fratello Italiano” opens a dialogue between the works of Luigi Ghirri and Claude Nori, as a tribute to the Italian landscapes they both beloved. The second room, “Je ne fais pas le photographe, je ne sais pas le faire” (I don’t play photographer, I don’t know how to do it) is dedicated to Mario Giacomelli’s “black series” and showcases several little known prints today.