Photolux 2021 – The summer exhibitions picturing the pandemic

Villa delle Rose, Misano Adriatico, June 2020 © Max Cavallari

Photolux has finally started, after the forced postponements due to the Covid-19 and Lucca, city of art, is once again an unmissable destination for photography enthusiasts. The Photolux season opens with two exhibitions, produced by the Archivio Fotografico Lucchese “A. Fazzi” and hosted until 22 August in the historic and evocative setting of Villa Bottini: two exhibitions that want to be a moment of reflection on the period just passed, marked by the spread of the coronavirus.

We will never forget the images of those months in which the media were our only window on the world, moments that the photographs have fixed forever in our memory: “a constellation of images that is active and vigilant testimony”. Focusing on what happened in this suspended time, now that the situation seems to be slowly changing, allows us to observe with the necessary detachment the difficult moments that we hope to have left behind forever, in order to face the future with greater awareness.

Covid patient sits on a bed in the sub-intensive ward at Ospedali Riuniti hospital, Ancona, April 2020. © Emanuele Satolli

The beginning of the future [L’inizio del futuro] is, in fact, the title of the group exhibition that retraces the period of the pandemic through the stories of freelance photographers, whose attentive and in-depth gaze has been able to capture, in various places around Italy, situations and moods of a difficult period for the whole world. Sickness and treatment, mourning and solidarity, tragedy and loneliness, despair and hope: moments of everyday life that suddenly changed before our eyes – unexpectedly taking on the contours of a nightmare – narrated by images that have become symbols.

Curated by Giulia Ticozzi and Arcipelago-19, the exhibition is a visual atlas, an “archipelago” of stories in which humanity appears divided by a forced isolation but linked by a common destiny. Each author has documented, with his peculiar style and unique vision, the reality he has chosen to witness: empty streets or domestic space, the change in interpersonal relationships or the confrontation with oneself, anxiety and social tensions, the connection (or disconnection) with nature and work, rediscoveries and new discoveries – despite everything.

Rome, March 2020 © Francesco Pistilli

The exhibition also includes an audiovisual installation by Cesura, Scherzo in three times [Scherzo in tre tempi], which encourages the visitors to question themselves about their position as spectators, a role we have all come to know in these months in which news and bulletins followed one another relentlessly on the various channels, and a topic that is as crucial as ever in our society.

The Beginning of the Future thus offers a broad view of an ongoing experience that has changed our lives forever, and that compels us to meditate and look ahead, in search of new perspectives and solutions.

© Lucia Franceschini, Francesco Ferretti/Archivio Fotografico Lucchese “A. Fazzi”

The second “chapter” of the narrative focuses on Lucca and its surrounding area: the exhibition Tales of the pandemic (Racconti della pandemia), curated by Enrico Stefanelli and Chiara Ruberti, presents to the public a first selection of the images collected in the Fondo Covid-19, set up in May 2020 by the Archivio Fotografico Lucchese “A.Fazzi”.

The new fund’s aim is to collect materials – photographs and audiovisuals – related to the pandemic, made by different authors, not all professionals, active in Lucca and its province. It is a story told through images of how the Covid period was experienced and felt in this part of Italy, a choral testimony meant to become part of our collective memory, so that it may not only be precious documentation but also and above all an “active source of reflection and planning”.


curated by Giulia Ticozzi and Arcipelago-19

The Covid-19 Fund of the Archivio Fotografico Lucchese
curated by Enrico Stefanelli and Chiara Ruberti

Villa Bottini
Via Elisa 9, Lucca

28 May – 22 August 2021
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am – 19.30 pm


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