Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice presents the large retrospective entitled “Mario De Biasi. Photographs 1947-2003 ”, dedicated to one of the greatest Italian photographers, tireless narrator of the world. The show which traces the entire production of the photo-journalist, from the beginning of his collaboration with Epoca magazine up to the latest works, will open at public – compatibly with any restrictive measures for containment of the pandemic – from 12 March to 31 July 2021. It is curated by Enrica Viganò in collaboration with the Mario De Biasi Archive, organized by Civita Tre Venezie with Admira and promoted by the Venice Foundation. As a result of this immense research in the De Biasi archive, the exhibition collects 216 photographs, half of which are unpublished, and proceeds diachronically by thematic nucleus through ten sections, passing through the story of great historical events, exotic travels, portraits of powerful and famous characters, scenes of everyday life, anonymous faces, leading to the conceptual and the abstract. “It was time! – observes the curator Enrica Viganò.
There was a need for an anthological exhibition that would celebrate Mario De Biasi’s talent in all its facets. The neorealist amateur photographer, the Epoca photo-journalist, the witness of history, the celebrity portraitist, the explorer of near and distant worlds, the visual artist, the interpreter of mother nature, the compulsive and creative designer. All his work is a hymn to life”.
Among the many unpublished works, Casa dei Tre Oci exhibits, for the first time, the entire sequence of De Biasi’s most famous and probably most loved photography: “Gli Italiani si voltano” (Italians turn), made in 1954 for the photo novel weekly Bolero Film and choice by Germano Celant as the guiding image of his exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968”. A gorgeous Moira Orfei dressed in white strolls through the center of Milan, catching the eye of a group of men.
The 50s of the twentieth century constitute one of the fulcrums of the exhibition with images of an Italy devastated by war, where, however, the desire for rebirth and reconstruction is captured; memorable views of New York; or the close-up perspective of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, under the fire of bullets, which wounded De Biasi and earned him the title of Crazy Italian. They are visual passages “from a twentieth century that today appears far away – specifies Denis Curti, artistic director of Casa dei Tre Oci – but which never ceases to stir curiosity”.
Two incredible reports date back to 1964, which testify to De Biasi’s obstinacy: the one in Siberia, with temperatures below 65 degrees, and the one among the erupting lava tongues of Etna. There is no lack of moments of lightness and daily intimacy, which De Biasi has investigated in all five of the contents, with photos of kisses, street barbers and lunch breaks taken from London to Paris, from Rome to Vienna, from Cairo to Tehran , from Thailand to Brazil, from Israel to Nepal.
Also on display are the images of the moon landing, his most famous portraits, including those of Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Fellini, Maria Callas; some of the countless trips, particularly to Hong Kong, South America and India. The last section focuses on the love of nature, of which forms and signs are revisited, rendered in photos as a sort of “visual poetry”.
Alongside the photographs, many materials, volumes, the original issues of Epoca magazine, some telegrams, including those by Enzo Biagi and Arnoldo Mondadori, notebooks and two audiovisual insights will be exhibited. Laura Leonelli’s interview in which Mario De Biasi talks about his experience as a photographer and a projection of images, selected by his daughter and head of the Archive, Silvia De Biasi, with the services for the Epoca series entitled The wonders of the world.
Besides being a great photographer, Mario De Biasi, passionate about art and painting, was also an original draftsman. A universe of strong colors and infinite fantasy will “cover” the Casa dei Tre Oci, restoring stylistic continuity to the set-up along the three floors of the neo-Gothic building with the depiction of suns, eyes, heads and hearts. “The Casa dei Tre Oci is a marvel for the eyes, in itself – declares Enrica Viganò. And its complex and versatile structure stimulates us curators to invent new solutions for the exhibition itinerary. The De Biasi exhibition is spectacular in all its originality and richness of content. “
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog published by Marsilio with the essays by Enrica Viganò, Denis Curti and Angelo Ponta.