Curated by Philippe Daverio
26 june - 13 september 2009
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni celebrates Gina Lollobrigida's 50 years of activity as a photographer with this sweeping retrospective. The diva whom most people associate with the acting profession, a profession to which she owes her universal fame, has also been out in the forefront of the art photography since 1959, earning worldwide praise in this field too.
Over 250 pictures comprising a representative selection of her activity, of her countless journeys and extraordinary encounters, illustrate her true artist's talent in portraying the most varied localities, human affairs, and cultural and anthropological environments. Ranging from the southern hemisphere to the wealthy and advanced western world, from the remotest peoples of Asia to the world's most important leaders, Gina Lollobrigida's photography reveals an affectionate predilection (albeit without ever falling prey to ideological addiction) for the humanity of the simple, the weak and the afflicted -- a predilection which she never tries to hide; indeed, a predilection which she always goes out of her way to highlight with her artist's eye. She was appointed the FAO's first lady ambassador in 1999 thanks to her commitment to various humanitarian organizations, and she has also worked closely with UNICEF, with UNESCO, with Médecins Sans Frontières, with Mother Teresa of Calcutta and with the children of Romania.
A lady with a will of steel, a tireless traveler, a full fledged femme forte of our era, Gina Lollobrigida presents a retrospective of photographs that she has been taking throughout the world ever since 1959: India, the Philippines, Russia, China, Japan, Africa, Cuba, the United States, and of course, with a very special tone and a very special sense of involvement, Italy, a country to which one whole room of the exhibition is devoted.
Alongside her depiction of people and places, there is also a portrait gallery of celebrities from the worlds of show business, of politics, and of art and tradition. The personalities portrayed include Indira Gandhi, Fidel Castro, Henry Kissinger, Maria Callas, Liza Minelli, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, Grace Kelly, Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn and many others besides.
The retrospective is completed by some of her most famous photographic compositions depicting children and animals, collected together and published in a book entitled "The Wonder of Innocence" (1994) -- a book that took the artist fully 14 years to put together, starting in the early seventies. Their irony and originality provide us with a foretaste of the kind of composition techniques that were soon to become the prerogative of the computer.
Gina Lollobrigida has published eight books of photographs (her book entitled "Italia mia" ["My Italy"] won the "Nadar" prize in 1973 for best book of photographs of the year, with over 300,000 copies being sold throughout the world); and she has directed three artistic documentaries: one on Fidel Castro in 1974, one on Indira Gandhi in 1976, and one 35 mm. film on the Philippines lasting two hours.
In 1980 here photographs were shown at the Musée Carnavalet, an exhibition for which she was awarded the Médaille d'Or de la Ville de Paris [Gold Medal of the City of Paris] by the then Mayor of the city Jacques Chirac.
Following her prestigious international awards (the Légion d'Honneur, which she was awarded by François Mitterand in 1992 for her activity both as an actress and as an artist), in the wake of several major exhibitions celebrating the other form of artistic expression to which Gina Lollobrigida has been devoting her energy for many years, namely sculpture (Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 2003; Musée de la Monnaie, Paris, 2004), and in the wake of her participation in the Open 2003 in Venice and a recent retrospective in Pietrasanta (2008), where she provided an all-round display of her artistic activities introducing a broader Italian audience to her sculpture, drawing and photographs for the very first time, Gina Lollobrigida has decided, at long last, to present her multifacerted artistic talent in her beloved adoptive home, the city of Rome.