Recounting the story of Venice over these last 150 years is an arduous task and yet it was in the Venice recently annexed to the Kingdom of Italy that Giovanni Querini bequeathed his inheritance. Just as Venice has lived and transformed over the last 150 years, so has the Fondazione Querini Stampalia. We decided to entrust the telling of this story to a selection of original photos, from nineteenth-century photographs, plates and stereoscopes to digital prints: a visual memory of the city from the Archivio Graziano Arici.
This is the first exhibition to promote this extraordinary collection, and what better occasion than the celebrations for such an important anniversary.
The exhibition offers a look at photography, a technology familiar to all of us, which began, was consolidated and has transformed over approximately the same 150 years. In the works chosen for this exhibition, we wanted to show some of the innumerable legacies of memory that Venice has left in everyone and in every age, but which actually constitute a single entity: from the city seen in the first photographs, so close to the iconography of landscape painting, to the city and its inhabitants with the clothes and ‘professions of yesteryear’ and to those of today; from the city of glamour embodied by the Venice Film Festival red carpet to the intellectual and creative city; and finally the city that is ‘prey/held hostage’ to the millions of tourists that endlessly tramp through its streets, squares and St Mark’s every year.
The story evoked by the images finds its narrative counterpoint in Mario Isnenghi’s text, whose reflections and suggestions accompany the sequence of photos. Ariane Carmignac’s essay enables us to better understand the Archivio Graziano Arici and to understand which Venice we are looking at in the images from his photographic archive.
Over the last 150 years the Fondazione Querini Stampalia has strived to remain faithful to the wishes of its founder, changing along with the times and with the social, political and cultural reality of Italy and of Venice. It continues to serve the city, constantly innovating and acting as a reference point, as well as being the subject of some of the photos on display in this exhibition.
Curated by Graziano Arici and Cristina Celegon, with Barbara Poli
Fondazione Querini Stampalia
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
Castello 5252, 30122 Venice, Italy