La Nostra Terra, Italian Photography from the 1970’s to Today

Stills, 23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh. Visited 21st July 2012.

The first UK exhibition of Italian photography and video from the 1970s to today. The exhibition La Nostra Terra – meaning Our Earth – takes a close look at contemporary Italian art through photography and video. The Stills Gallery, in co-operation with the Italian Institute in Edinburgh, features over 30 different photographs, with the works selected from “Fondazione Fotografia” in Italy.

The main focus of this collection is the industrial development in Italy from the 1970’s until now. The images deal with the industrial as well as the natural aspect of the Italian landscape. All nine photographers come from different decades, contributing greatly to the pictures’ delicate variation.

Two small photos from Gudio Guidi feature the rusty metal towers of an old factory, symbolising the evanescence of once glamorous times, in contrast to an industrial context where Walter Nidermeyer incorporates nature in a beautiful but surreal series of images. The photographs of Franco Fontana, known for his abstract colour landscapes, hark back to avant-garde painting, particularly through his use of light and colour: shapes and tones blur into each other, creating a fusion between the hard industrial shapes and the softness of natural colours.

I found it difficult to make sense of a lot of the photographs on display at this exhibition. As it’s only three months into my first course perhaps I am expecting too much and would hope that further down the line my understanding and comprehension of a wider range of photography styles will expand and develop.

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