This new Palladio Museum exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of the “Italian Council” (7th edition, 2019), a project promoting Italian contemporary art in the world, created by the Italian Ministry of Culture Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity. For the Palladio Museum it is an opportunity to continue working on the great architecture of the past, but from a contemporary perspective.
Developed in collaboration with the Atelier Kersten Geers at the Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio, the Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Stiftung Insel Hombroich, Neuss, the exhibition project not only revisited Raphael’s architecture on the five hundredth anniversary of his death but also, and most importantly, involved an operation of re-visioning his work. The approach is not based on historical documentary research nor is it didactic. “Rather” – Graziani explains – “the project aims to encompass all the possible shades of ambiguity pertaining to photography.”
Stefano Graziani worked on a complex subject and especially when it came to Raphael’s apparently elusive buildings. He observed how they changed over time and the process that transformed them into images. “By investigating the transformative power of photography” – Francesco Zanot writes – “Graziani highlights the altered nature of his subjects. In practice, none of them correspond to the works as seen by Raphael. We are thus dealing with the result of various events and modifications occurring over time. Restorations, renovations, reconstructions and new buildings based on original designs chart the distance between past and present.”
The fifteen large photographs on display, printed for the occasion by the photographer, also explore the concepts of restoration, archiving, conservation, exhibiting and of course “originality”, so keenly debated in the world of photography.
The photographs were taken in various places in 2020: the V&A’s Raphael Court and Prints and Drawings Study Room (London), the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche and the Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche-ISIA (Urbino), the Palazzo Ducale (Mantua), St Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City), the Chigi Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, the Villa Madama, the Stalle Chigi and the Scuderie del Quirinale (Rome) and the city of Trieste.
The exhibition has an official companion book, Documents on Raphael, edited by Francesco Zanot (NABA, Milan; Fondazione MAST, Bologna), and published by Mousse Publishing. The book includes 49 photographs by Stefano Graziani with commentaries by Guido Beltramini, Frank Boehm, Bruce Boucher, Pablo Bronstein, Antonio Cataldo, Emanuel Christ, Emanuele Coccia, Ana Debenedetti, Victoria Easton, Kersten Geers, Manuel Orazi, Maddalena Scimemi, Pier Paolo Tamburelli, Ellis Woodman and Francesco Zanot.
After the exhibition, the photographs will be kept in the Palladio Museum photographic collections, where they will be available for consultation by researchers and scholars.
The “School” chairs are courtesy of LAGO STORE Vicenza, official dealer for leading Italian interior designers LAGO.