For over thirty years, Giorgio Casali (1913-1995) photographed the work of the greatest post-war Italian architects and designers for Gio Ponti’s famous magazine, the style bible Domus.
Casali worked as an apprentice in the Rambaldi photographic studio before establishing his own studio in 1938. In the early 1950s his career took off with his images of Ponti’s iconic Superleggera chair for Domus, in which he vividly conveyed the design’s key feature – extreme lightness – by using models holding the object with a single finger. Economy, elegance and a commitment to presenting the object to its best advantage were characteristic of Casali’s work, and over the following three decades he forged an intense collaborative relationship with Ponti. Domus played a key role in the international dissemination of the Made in Italy ‘brand’, promoting a quintessentially Italian sense of style through the creative reinvention and reinterpretation of everyday objects. In its pages, Casali’s imagery charted post-war Italy’s growing self-confidence and position as a world leader in the spheres of architecture and design.
Curated by Angelo Maggi and Italo Zannier, this exhibition presented a selection of Casali’s images belonging to the Archivio Progetti, housed at IUAV University in Venice. It included a series of previously unseen vintage prints unconnected to the worlds of architecture and design, comprising pictures taken in a professional context as well as travel photographs and intimate, private studies of friends and family. Visitors were able to re-discover the achievements of once-celebrated but now lesser-known masters, as well as more familiar figures like Ponti, Pier Luigi Nervi and Le Corbusier, as seen through the lens of this great photographer.
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Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone
Everything Made Bronze
26 June – 4 August 2013
A new film by the artists Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone, which makes compelling use of two contrasting but related locations: Carlo Scarpa’s famous Gipsoteca plaster-cast gallery in the Museo Canova in Possagno, northern Italy, and the Venice-based plaster workshops of Eugenio de Luigi, one of Scarpa’s most important collaborators. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and entitled Everything Made Bronze, the film is particularly relevant to the Giorgio Casali exhibition as one of Scarpa’s works was also the subject of a Domus cover image taken by Casali in 1960.
Filmed using a spring-wound camera, the work follows (and further illuminates) the extraordinary play of light in the Gipsoteca over a number of days producing a constantly fluid and changing environment for the appreciation of Canova’s plaster- casts.
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella. Supported by Arts Council England; the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; The Henry Moore Foundation; Goldsmiths, University of London; Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. With the kind cooperation of the Fondazione Canova, Possagno and the De Luigi workshop, Venice.