Photography: the best summer 2019 exhibitions

Here a selection of the best photography exhibitions opened between June and September 2019: from the sacrileges of La Chapelle to the metaphysics of Irene Kunk, from the lyricism of Helmut Newton to the intimacy and Japanese eros of Nobuyoshi Araki.

Helmut Newton – Art Gallery of San Gimignano (Siena)

helmut newton
Rushmore, Italian Vogue – 1982 – © Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

Helmut Newton

Newton is one of the most famous and acclaimed photographers in the world. The corpus of his works is very large, but he’s known among the general public especially for his fashion photos full in lyricism, suspense and elegance. In his photos he immortalized many famous faces of showbiz like Ornella Muti, Catherine Deneuve and Carla Bruni.

The exhibition: Helmut Newton. San Gimignano (April 18th – September 1st)

The Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery of San Gimignano dedicates a retrospective to him with as many as 60 of his best photos. The path ideally begins with the portrait of Andy Warhol made from a 1974 shot for Vogue, and ends with Leni Riefenstahl made in 2000. In the middle are some of the most famous characters of the twentieth century, including Gianni Agnelli, Paloma Picasso, Anita Ekberg, Claudia Schiffer and Gianfranco Ferrè.

Inge Morath – Palazzo Ducale (Genoa)

Inge Morath

The Austrian Mrs Morath was the first photographer to enter the prestigious Magnum photo agency, on invitation by Robert Capa himself: an extraordinary woman in a (until then) exclusively male world. Since the 50s of the last century she has travelled the world to carry out several photographic reports (in Spain, Italy, the Middle East, America, Russia, China, Soviet Union) but she has also taken some of the most tender and participatory photographic portraits of the history of photo-writing (just admire her works with Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Doris Lessing, Henry Moore).

The exhibition: Inge Morath. Life, photography (June 21st – September 22nd)

The exhibition brings together a vast overview of Morath’s work: 170 images and dozens of documents tracing her career and focusing in particular on her reportages in Venice, Spain, Russia, Iran, China, Romania, the States United States of America, and in her native Austria.

Irene Kung, Larry Fink, Jacopo Benassi – Camera museum (Turin)

irene kung
Irene Kung, Duomo e Ulivo Fara Sabina

Irene Kung, Larry Fink, Jacopo Benassi

Camera, the Italian Center for Photography in Turin, currently offers three exhibitions dedicated to three very different photographers: Irene Kung, Larry Fink, Jacopo Benassi.
Irene Kung was raised in the field of painting and used her training to embellish the lyrical and emotional component of her artistic research. One of the main traits of his photography is the ability to make objects emerge from darkness.
Larry Fink is an American photographer and lecturer who first became famous in the 1970s with a series of shots of the inhabitants of New York and later with portraits of the protagonists of the beat generation and the richest and most famous of the US jazz-set. His photos are characterized by the use of a white and black creed, but always within a well composed image.
Jacopo Benassi is a self-taught photographer trained in the underground and experimental environments of the 1990s. To his credit, he has a book co-signed with Paolo Sorrentino: Gli aspetti irrilevanti (The irrelevant aspects, n.d.t.). In his photography, raw and playful, the bodies (of both famous and common people) always seem to be caught in a state of decadence.

The exhibitions: Irene Kung. Monuments (May 30th – July 28th); Larry Fink. Unbridled Curiosity (July 18th – September 29th); Jacopo Benassi. Crack (July 18th – September 29th).

Irene Kung’s solo exhibition collects eighteen large-format works in which the Swiss photographer carries out a survey of the landscape, where natural elements and contemporary architecture emerge as ghosts from darkness.
King’s Unbridled Curiosity is a retrospective exhibition with over 90 images taken from the 1960s to the present: a collection of powerful black and white portraits that highlight the ties between people but also between places and people.
In Jacopo Benassi. Crack sixty photographs are exhibited, through which the Italian photographer raises the problem of the relationship between classicism and contemporaneity about bodies and of the bonds that individuals establish with others and with the environment.

David LaChapelle, Reggia di Venaria (Turin)

David LaChapelle

The American LaChapelle is probably one of the most important and debated international artists of the last 30 years: a young pupil of Andy Warhol, the Connecticut photographer soon made his name by shooting for some of the most prestigious US magazines including Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, The Face and Rolling Stone. From here on, his name was intertwined with some of the biggest names in the American entertainment industry (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Muhammed Ali), but the characteristic mark of all of LaChapelle’s opus is his dispassionate use of excess, kitsch, eccentricity. In his opera, sacred and profane are often mixed in the light of a paradoxical and monstrously ironic transgression.

The exhibition: LaChapelle. Atti Divini (June 14th 2019 – January 6th 2010)

Atti Divini (Devine Acts, n.d.t.) is an anthological exhibition with 70 of the most significant works of great and very great formations of the artist’s career: a real “best of” that gathers in the large white spaces of the Citroniera of the Juvarrian Stables inside of the Reggia di Venaria some of his most iconic photographs such as “Rape of Africa” ​​(which imagines Naomi Campbell as Botticelli’s novel Venus in an African gold mine) and “Showtime at the Apocalypse” (the portrait of Kardashan family), but also some unpublished works of the new series “New World”.

Nobuyoshi Araki, Santa Maria della Scala (Siena)

Subway of love- 1963-1972 © Nobuyoshi

Nobuyoshi Araki

Born in Tokyo in 1940, Araki began his career in the 1960s taking inspiration from the Italian neorealist cinema, but his fame from the 1970s is mainly due to his reports on the Japanese sex industry and portraits of women linked according to the technique of kinbaku, the Japanese bondage.

The exhibition: Araki Effect (June 21st – September 30th)

With its vast selection of over 2200 works by the Japanese master, the exibithion selects photos taken from more than twenty of Araki’s series from the early sixties to the 10s of the 21st century, many of which are completely new in Italy. It is possible to find everything that made his shots famous: from the first series of the neorealist “Satchin and His Brother Mabo” to the collection of images stolen in Tokyo subway “Subway Love”, from the “Sentimental Journey” on his wife Yoko to the subjects in banal moments of everyday life of “Dead Reality”.

Immagine di copertina:

Rushmore, Italian Vogue – 1982 –

© Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin (cover)


Target Point, Italian Ideas