Curated by Germano Celant
The exhibition is the fruit of two years of intensive work on the photographer’s archive and traces through more than 150 images, including numerous previously unseen works and a number of videos, a 20-year period in his career, from 1998 to 2017. It represents an invaluable introduction to his creative and documentary career and an opportunity to explore the issues that underlie his work in which the vision of the reporter and the visual intensity of the artist entwine and become one.
The immersive and engaging exhibition layout is articulated between the two extremes of light and dark.
The initial section is dark. The colour black dominates, populated by the stories of human suffering: the wars, the tensions, the destruction, but also the intimate beauty of mankind in the expression of its deepest emotions. The second part is instead characterised by a luminous space in which prevail images of nature that in its majesty and distance seems to recall the fragility of the human condition
This account of the human being lowered into the dark is countered by an immersion in a suddenly luminous environment, with an evanescent light where the real seems to be sublimated in the candour of the Antarctic ice, the protagonist in a recent reportage for NASA, in the gaze of a young Rom woman, in the power of the natural elements, in the spirituality and the profundity of man’s atavistic relationship with himself, as in the case of the two young Palestinians bathing in the Dead Sea.
The two parts of the exhibition are connected by a passage that takes the visitor behind the scenes of Pellegrin's visual research: drawings, notebooks, notes and snapshots document the complexity of a creative process that is based above all on research, knowledge and preparation. Pellegrin considers photography to be a language composed simultaneously of rules and instinct. It is rooted in years of study around the image, the vision, the gaze: all aspects that the photographer has trained from the outset of his career through his interest in literature, the history of art, architecture, film and of course the work of the great masters of photography.