January 23-29 Palazzo Isolani, Bologna
February 14 - March 31 Galleria d'Arte Maggiore, Bologna
Galleria d'Arte Maggiore has chosen the beautiful setting of Palazzo Isolani in Bologna to show the work by Francesca Galliani, during an exclusive preview form January 23rd to 29th on the occasion of Artefiera. The central idea of the exhibition – which will then be on display in the rooms of the Gallery till march 31st – is Transformation. The show draws a path that starts with a homage to her city, New York, (the geographical variation of the theme), and leads the visitors to a human dimension, touching up-to-date social issues, such as violence against women and transgender rights. The urban fabric of the city is the subject and the inspiration of her photography: its landmarks, and the people living there are seen through Francesca Galliani's lens with evocative intensity and empathy, marking their transformations, in an intimate dialogue among the artist, the subject and the audience. Manipulating her photographies, the artist inserts words, collage and paint, so that every encounter tells a story, narrated with “no prejudice and no glorification”.
Photography is an expression of art and communication to Francesca Galliani: a chronicle of never ending metamorphosis, more than a registration of the passing of time. The overlay of images, lines and strokes – so typical of her production – has roots in her education at the Corcoran School of Art of Washington DC, where she had the opportunity to develop all kind of expressive tecniques, strenghtening her background, influenced by her love towards artists like Mapplethorpe, Rauschenberg and Witkin. Image manipulation is her trademark: pictorial feautures, collage and words are combined onto photographs, matching and completing each others, as they would do in an artist diary o in a scrapbook filled with fleeting impressions. Photography is transformed in an autonomous alphabeth, where tactile sensations – bodies, film, memories – appear. With the artworks selected for the exhibition, we enter in a travel dimension, with a homage to New York, the city that allowed the artist to experiment a beating heart of freedom, energy and tolerance. Francesca Galliani' work pays homage to that part of New York which made history and today it is fading away, choosing places like the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, celebrated by music and literature and now no longer existing. Her photographs then become testimony, attestations of existences that otherwise would be lost. In her collages there are walls papered with posters, iconic buildings and bridges: the urban fabric intersects with the images of the masters of art history, the new meets the old, in a series of unexpected correspondences. With the eyes of those who accept change and transformation as moments of an eternal cycle, we look at the series dedicated to the portraits of transgender. They are protagonists today of an historic and politically revolutionary moment, comparable to the Stonewall insurrection at Greenwich Village in 1969 that paved the way for gay rights in the United States. Once again transformation is therefore in the center of Francesca Galliani's work, analysed in this case through the point of view not only of the body but also the achievements of human rights. The attention to the social issues is always very strong in the artist's works, as it is testified by the portraits on the theme of violence against women that complete the exhibition. Externalizing the different emotions which are born as a result of the both physical and mental abuse, these portraits can bring out the inner trauma with great evocative power.
Born in Italy but living in the United States from the age of 19, Francesca Galliani graduated in Fine Arts (however specializing in photography) in 1988 at the Corcoran of Washington. She moved to New York in 1991. She was awarded the prize of Kodak European Panorama Award in Arles in 1995 and sbegan to exhibit in several international shows. The solo exhibitions are numerous, from the most recent at the Ciurlionis Museum in Lithuania in 2013 to some group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 2011 for the Pavilion of the Palazzo della Regione Lombardia in Milan and at MAMbo of Bologna in 2004. She worked for magazines such as Detour, Vogue, Velvet and D. Her creation of 'Blue', the advertising campaign for Levi's, was highly successful exhibited at the Milan Triennial.
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