Events & Exhibitions / GAM
ANDO GILARDI REPORTER
Curated by Daniela Giordi
The GAM of Turin presents in its Wunderkammer an exhibition dedicated to Ando Gilardi(1921 – 2012), an activist photographer and photojournalist in post-war Italy, through a selection of pictures taken between 1950 and 1962.
The show, held in collaboration with the Fototeca Gilardi, represents something new with respect to standard photo exhibitions at major venues and is also an opportunity to draw attention to the restoration and digitalization of the important collection of negatives in the Ando Gilardi Reporter fund,completed in 2017 by ABF - Atelier per I Beni Fotografici in Turin.
Ando Gilardi was born in 1921 in Arquata Scrivia in the province of Alessandria. His real name is Aldo, but he later became known as Ando while he was a Partisan. He was a photographer, journalist, and photography historian and critic, celebrated for his reflections on the value and power of pictures as documents. He would dedicate studies and research to this thesis, shared through the numerous publications and magazines he himself founded or directed.
Ando Gilardi’s interest in photography began right after the war when, upon returning to Genoa following his years alongside the Partisans, he was employed by the Inter-Allied Commission for the Documentation of War Crimes to assist with the Nuremburg trials. A Communist Party militant, he was a journalist for L’Unità, Vie Nuove, and the illustrated magazine Lavoro. In fact, it was for Lavoro that Gilardi began taking photos for his articles as a correspondent across Italy, between 1950 and 1962.
The exhibition offers a selection of 55 images, mainly snapshots taken on the job or at home, documenting the work conditions and life of laborers, farmhands, and their respective families. To a lesser extent the pictures pertain to protests or trade union demonstrations like strikes, factory or land sit-ins, plus moments of leisure that reveal the country’s recovery after the war. The show also provides a series of original documents and illustrated magazines that accompany visitors along a journey into the photographer’s impressive archive.
The exhibition itinerary unfolds across some investigative reports related to events in the news, alternated with some iconic pictures taken by Gilardi himself. Recurrent themes include childhood, the workforce, female emancipation, Italian identity, strikes, labor union activity.
The exhibit reveals how Ando Gilardi’s post-Neorealist and journalistic photographic style was informed by the visual culture from beyond the Alps and the Atlantic, with particular attention to images of the American Great Depression – that is, the photo campaigns promoted by the Farm Security Administration as part of the New Deal –and of Straight and Street Photography.This exhibition also aims to draw attention to the artist’s gaze, to his ontological and humane approach to the subjects portrayed, to his political vision of life and his deep respect for others. Gilardi did not “steal” images, but through his pictures the subjects become witnesses, representatives, and actors of the moment immortalized in the photographs.
The exhibition Ando Gilardi Reporter. ITALIA 1950 - 1962 launches the activities of ARCHIVIARE il Presente, a cultural platform for projects among institutions, associations, multipurpose centers, galleries, which will take place in spring 2019 and are part of the Fo-To Fotografi event in Turin.