Family Business – Cinderella’s Redemption, a collective exhibition curated by Roberto Mutti
Istituto Italiano di Fotografia took part in the first edition of Milano Gallery Weekend with the collective exhibition Family business – Cinderella’s Redemption, curated by Roberto Mutti. The exhibition took place from 11 to 18 October 2019.
Gallery Weekend first took place in Berlin in 2004 at the spontaneous initiative of art galleries, that prepared for a coordinate inauguration. The Gallery Weekend format was then exported in 19 cities in the world and this year Milan enters the list as the 20th city. Therefore, this event gave the former students of the Professional Biennial Photography Course who participated in the exhibition the chance not only to showcase the photos they took for the course When photography meets literature held by Roberto Mutti, but also to put them up for sale.
In our long path between literature and photography (that has already reached the 10th edition) we have always analyzed famous masterpieces – from “Pinocchio” to “Odyssey”, just to mention a couple of them – that are often not read in their entirety and not understood in their complexity. In this case we chose something peculiar, because this text is known mainly in its oral version: Cinderella’s story is a fairytale (even though the proper definition would be a “myth”) of ancient origins already present in the Egypt of 500 a.C., where the main character was named Rodopi, and in ancient China, where her name was Yen-Shen. We know about Persian, Russian, English, French, German versions, while the Italian one that we know so well was first mentioned by Gianbattista Basile in 1634 in his “La gatta Cenerentola”. Gioacchino Rossi first and Roberto De Simone later masterfully put it to music, but it was cinema that consecrated it to the general public in its classical versions (from 1914 “Cinderella” interpreted by Mary Pickford to that of 2015 directed by Kenneth Branagh, but also the 1950 animated film produced by Walt Disney) or in contemporary interpretations such as “Sabrina”, published in 1954.
Curiously enough, in this landscape photography is absent. Thus, it was even more exciting to ask some young emerging authors, students of Istituto Italiano di Fotografia concluding their education with this project, to interpret it. During their last year, students conducted long and articulated research. They were not asked to illustrate the story, they were asked to study it, rethink it, analyse it and then develop their own interpretation. On the one hand, each student was given absolute freedom of expression with the only limit of taking into account the text as an important reference. On the other, we wanted to involve all the students in the conversation and in the different steps of the elaboration of the projects, so that every project could also be part of a collective process in a certain way. As you can see, the result is unexpected and it originates from the different awareness with which the story is seen by new generations: the Prince is not Charming anymore (well…) and if you marry him you risk of having an husband that falls asleep on the sofa, Cinderella can get lost in her solitude at the stop of bus that is not coming, hide in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, but also establish herself as a successful fashion designer. Then again, nowadays you can find love on Facebook, you can find the famous slipper hidden in one of the boxes of an art installation, everyone looks at themselves in the mirror with a bit of fear. Human relationships are analyzes through psychoanalysis, and, let’s admit it, family is an unbearable prison. How can one believe that we can live happily? Let alone ever after…