Mario Giacomelli: A Retrospective 1955 – 1983
“I am bound to this earth and I want to save it, but at the same time I want to save myself”
This is the first time that this internationally respected photographer’s work has been shown in Dublin – Belfast’s Arts Council Gallery staged the show in August to decidedly “mixed reviews”.
Outside Italy, Giacomelli’s reputation has largely rested on a few well known images, but this exhibition is an opportunity to see the extraordinary range and breadth of his work. The show includes images of the hard-working rural farming community of his home region (march) and of the landscapes they have created which he depicts in starkly graphic prints.
The theme of the human condition and the passing of life, with its fun and games – and labors, runs throughout Giacomelli’s work. He depicts youth as magical and yet sad, while his preoccupation with the income of old age and death is most strongly illustrated in the Slaughterhouse series and in the devastating photographs of old people’s homes – Death will come and it will have your eyes – which caused the controversy in Belfast.
This is not documentary photography. Giacomelli’s photographs are marked by these personal statements, which he communicates in a technically aggressive printing style, thereby transforming reality in order to state his view.
This powerful exhibition also includes photographs of the famine in Etheopia –“Why?” – made in 1974.