contemporary art / history of art

Foto/Industria 2023: From ancient analogue Images to AI-supported Pictures

VI Biennal of Photography on Industry and Work: Game
12 Exhibitions and 11 Venues in Bologna
18 October – 8 December 2023

This year’s Biennale Foto/Industria focusses on the game industry in photography. Promoted by the Fondazione MAST, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, 12 exhibitions by international artists are showing various approaches to games. This could be the depiction of places where people play, people who are playing or playthings in the broadest sense. At the same time, the shows have a wide range of photographic techniques. There are analogue black and white pictures, colour photography, videos, but also images which were supported digitally up to human intervention marginalising works.


Heinrich Zille: Berlin Funfair
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna / Casa Saraceni
Via Farini, 15

The relatively unknown photographic oeuvre by Heinrich Zille depicts the funfairs in Berlin around 1900. Discovered in 1966, 37 years after the death of the renowned illustrator and graphic artist, the images illustrate how people found distraction and amusement from their often monotone work in this rapidly expanding and industrialising metropole.

Erik Kessels: Carlo e Luciana
UniCredit – Palazzo Magnani
Via Zamboni, 20

Erik Kessels is in the proper meaning of the word no photographer, since most of his projects are based on already existing pictures from photo collections, made for private use. In “Carlo e Luciana” he presents holiday images from the in Vignola, Italy based couple, who travelled the world. Shot during a period of 40 years, there are always two photos from a similar angle: one with Carlo and the other one with Luciana. Is it a documentary series or are they playing the roles of a travelling couple?

Hicham Benohoud: La Salle de Classe
Genus Bononiae / San Giorgio in Poggiale
Biblioteca d’arte e di storia
Via Nazario Sauro, 20/2

Working as art teacher in a school in Marrakech, Morocco, Hicham Benohoud asked his pupils between 1994 and 2000 to pose in bizarre postures accompanied by unusual equipment. Although the sceneries in black and white could show ludic occasions for the children, their expressions mostly serious.

Raed Yassin: Ghost Karaoke
Alchemilla / Palazzo Vizzani
Via Santo Stefano, 43

Introduced by screenshots from Egyptian films and pictures of people’s silhouettes arisen from processed photos from other families, Raed Yassin presents three videos. His first short film “Karaoke” (2015) is composed of videos showing an oriental party with singers and belly dancing. The artist comments the film by telling his childhood experience, when he used to sing with his mother on religious festivals in South Lebanon. Less directly personal but also based on the same feelings of play, memory, tradition, family relationships and loss and are two more videos: “Tonight” (2008-2021) and “The Sea Between My Soul” (2020). In his work Yassin handles with personal experience and traumata. However, he needs to take the pictorial world from others, since his own family photos got lost in the Lebanese civil war.

Linda Fregni Nagler: Playgrounds
Palazzo Boncompagni
Via del Monte, 8

ONLY UNTIL 26 November 2023

Linda Fregni Nagler takes us with her shootings of playgrounds (2005-2007), on another ludic journey back into childhood. However, the artist shows us at the same time a different world than the one we might remember from our infancy: it is a silent, nocturnal atmosphere, which she captures. Recorded only with the present light and with long exposure, the usual image of playgrounds with their noisy youngsters turns into a still poetic place.

Daniel Faust: Las Vegas
Musei Civici Bologna / Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell’Archiginnasio, 2

Daniel Faust’s photos of Las Vegas are, with some by size highlighted exceptions, arranged as mosaics. This image flood might reflect the atmosphere of this amusement island in the Mojave Desert. Few pictures refer to the geographic position, most of them feature the glamour of light performance, cribbed architecture or eccentric buildings. It is a kaleidoscope of this metropole were joy and sadness, luck and misfortune, appearance and reality are so close together.

Andreas Gursky: Visual Spaces of Today
Fondazione MAST
Via Speranza, 42

25 May 2023 – 7 January 2024

In the exhibition “Visual Spaces of Today” the Fondazione MAST shows 40 images by Andreas Gursky, dating from his early works in the 1980th up to most recent ones. The large-scale photos are featuring various workspaces. There are places of the traditional production processes (Salt evaporation ponds and poultry raising), fashion display and modern tourism, but also an industrial harbour and the buildings of global companies. Herewith, the pictures don’t really fit the subject games. However, the connection between work and photography is the main subject of the collection of the Fondazione MAST and therefore a hint to the 10th anniversary of the institution.

Olivo Barbieri: Flippers
Musei Civici Bologna / Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell’Archiginnasio, 2

Flippers by Olivo Barbieri with photos taken in an abandoned pinball-machine warehouse (1977) refers to an almost bygone period, when these noisy machines were set up in pubs and chip shops for pastime and amusement. As part of popular culture, the decorative pictures on the automats feature the pictorial world of films, music and sport events. Herewith they are witnesses of this era. At the same time, the flippers were somehow an antecedent of computer games.

Danielle Udogaranya: Seeing Me, Seeing You, Seeing Us
Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna / Palazzo Paltroni
Via delle Donzelle, 2

While Olivo Barbieri deals with games of the past, Danielle Udogaranya, aka Ebonix focusses on the present and even the future. The content creator, gaming expert and 3D artist has enriched the simulation video game “The Sims” with avatars, which represent the gamers themselves like they want to be visualised. Herewith she includes people from categories frequently not featured in those games.

Cécile B. Evans: Reality or Not
Musei Civici Bologna
MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna
Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 14

Also Cécile B. Evans invites us in the virtual world. In their film, projected as a large-sized video installation, they accompany a group of students enabled to modify the reality. For this propose, they are enabled to enter in various realities with different environments and people. In doing so, they are confronted with problems and challenges concerning new forms of existence and related to these the necessity of new ethics.

Ericka Beckman: Reach Capacity
Spazio Carbonesi
Via de’ Carbonesi, 11

Welcomed by Ericka Beckman’s photos from 1980th, which show peculiar machines, there is the video-installation “Reach Capacity”. The animated film takes us to Lower Manhattan, where pawn-players represent businessmen, speculators and workers of the constructing sector. Their musical-like performance shows the raising of new buildings in town. This orchestration makes the building industry seem to be a big game.

ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne: Automated Photography
Direzione Regionale Musei Emilia-Romagna
Ex Chiesa di San Mattia
Via Sant’Isaia, 14/a

The exhibition “Automated Photography” is the result of the reflection of students of the Master of Photography at ECAL/University of Art and Design in Lausanne. Considering the growing impact of digital technologies in the creation of images and their distribution, the students questioned the future role of artists in this process.