Ugo Mulas, The Pictures Rooms and the inexhaustible magic of Venice

Barbara Merkley

The island (an enchanted just one) of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, in which the Fondazione Giorgio Cini is found, overlooks the legendary look at of the Laguna and Piazza San Marco and is at this time internet hosting an exhibition focused to one particular of the most influential authors not only in Italian pictures. The exhibition Ugo Mulas. L’operazione fotografica (Ugo Mulas. The photographic operation) is a job that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the author’s demise.

This is an option not to be missed because, with all around 300 pictures, which includes 30 pics under no circumstances exhibited before (this kind of as the unpublished portraits of Giorgio De Chirico, Maria Callas and Joan Mirò), files, guides and films, it features a synthesis that opens up to the distinct ordeals Ugo Mulas faced, enabling a worldwide (and unusual) vision of his perform. He applied to be an eclectic author who labored in numerous places of photography and, at the similar time, managed to analyse in depth the idea of images. Indeed, the exhibition itinerary – or rather, the multiple achievable paths – in the Sale del Convitto in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, has 14 sections masking all of Mulas’s fields of curiosity, necessary to render the complexity of his do the job, which ranges from portraits of friends and personalities from literature, cinema and architecture to theatre, business and style.

Mulas’s photographic method are unable to be connected to a genre. His function deals with “experiments in significant thoughts” on photography, which he examined and tried using to reveal. And the title of the exhibition, as well as its notion, is motivated by his most conceptual sequence, Le Verifiche (The Verifications), notably from the title of the 2nd of them: L’operazione fotografica, committed to Lee Friedlander. It is a mirror shot, in which Mulas photographed himself coated by the camera, showing unidentifiable and maybe accepting the thought that at the rear of the camera there is a photographer and not just an impartial observer.

His angle also gave rise to his images of landscapes and cities, of the Venice Biennale (which he photographed from 1954 to 1972) with Pop Artwork artists, which include Alexander Calder, Christo and George Segal. In the 1964 edition, U.S. Pop Artwork was offered to the European community. Many thanks to the collaboration of the critic Alan Solomon and the artwork vendor Leo Castelli, Mulas was launched to the American art scene all through his first trip to the United States, exactly where he portrayed perfectly-recognised painters at perform, including Frank Stella, Johns, Rauschenberg, but also Andy Warhol and John Cage. In 1967, his investigation of doing the job with artists was revealed in the volume New York: Art and Individuals.

There are also photographs of L’Attesa (in which he managed to doc Lucio Fontana’s psychological instinct of Il Taglio) and of Milan. Mulas designed his debut in Milan, with his reportages that pictured suburbs and dormitories, but also the imaginative environment that fulfilled at the tables of the Jamaica. «The Jamaica» – as curator Denis Curti observes – «used to be the position for conferences, for near friendships, those people with Mario Dondero, Piero Manzoni, Alfa Castaldi, Pietro Consagra, Carlo Bavagnoli and Antonia Bongiorno, who would come to be his wife. The itinerary includes “the most significant ‘series’ for Mulas himself, people focused to Calder and Duchamp and the fundamental The Verifications (1968-1972), which are deemed a single of the most interesting “experiments in crucial thought” on photography”, Curti adds.

The exhibition is an option to see “in real” Le Verifiche, a collection of 13 photographic performs through which Mulas concerns pictures, delivering a formal and conceptual investigation of it. Le Verifiche constitute a topical stage in the heritage of images, a “meta photographic” evaluation that has hardly ever ceased to prompt issues about the position of the photographic graphic. It is a eyesight that stays a heading worry. In fact, in our time, as the emergence of new systems is main to an aesthetic revolution, it is time to reflect on the part of electronic pictures in altering the way we are living and communicate.

Mulas made use of to publish in journals this kind of as Rivista Pirelli, Domus and Vogue. He also produced an creative collaboration with Giorgio Strehler, which resulted in his photo studies L’opera da tre soldi [The Threepenny Opera] (1961) and Schweyck nella seconda guerra mondiale [Schweyck in the Second World War] (1962).

“The photographic function of Ugo Mulas” – Alberto Salvadori, director of the Archivio Mulas and co-curator of the exhibition, says– features an indispensable viewpoint on the standing of the get the job done of artwork by itself, which prompts us to mirror on the romantic relationship, every time new and unique, concerning the artist and his workspace, inspiration and the context that expresses it. The retrospective, that inaugurates Le Stanze della Fotografia accounts for this at any time-current «actuality» of Mulas’ gaze, also exhibiting a lot less recognised features of it as a result of snapshots and archive files never ever exhibited before”

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue released by Marsilio Arte.


New areas for pictures: an island for the image

A couple of months ago, a new exhibition and investigation centre, Le Stanze della Fotografia (The Photography Rooms), opened on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, in the Sale del Convitto (with an exhibition place of 1850 square metres). It is a joint initiative by Marsilio Arte and Fondazione Giorgio Cini, meant to shift even further together the path started in 2012 at La Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice.

The affiliation involving photography and the island of San Giorgio is a pure a single. In truth, «major focus has generally been devoted by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini to pictures, both of those as an artwork form and as historic-creative documentation, building, at the instigation of Vittorio Cini himself, what nowadays is one particular of the most in depth photo libraries in Italy and Europe», Giovanni Bazoli, president of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini clarifies. It stores almost a million pictures, freely consultable by appointment or on the net) and it is specialized within just the sphere of historic creative analysis, with collections that belonged to artwork historians, journalists and writers and from the relations existing about many years in between Vittorio Cini, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and the Alinari enterprise.

Conceived as an intercontinental centre for analysis and appreciation of pictures and the tradition of photographs, Le Stanze della Fotografia will supply, along with exhibitions, laboratories, meetings, workshops, seminars with countrywide and global photographers.

Study and exhibition actions are coordinated by the technical-scientific committee chaired by Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Institute of Record of Art of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, and composed of Emanuela Bassetti, president of Marsilio Arte, Chiara Casarin, head of cultural advancement and communication for the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, creative director Denis Curti and Luca De Michelis, taking care of director of Marsilio Arte.

Paola Sammartano


Ugo Mulas. The Photographic Procedure
29 March – 6 August 2023
Le Stanze della Fotografia
Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
30124 Venice, Italy

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