The exhibition, curated by Raffaella Perna, showcases a selection of over 200 photographs and books of photographs from the Donata Pizzi Collection, formed to acquaint as broad an audience as possible with the work of the most original Italian women photographers from the mid-sixties to the present day. The collection, the only one of its kind in Italy, comprises photographs by some 70 women photographers of different generations and from different expressive backgrounds, ranging from the pioneering work of Paola Agosti, Letizia Battaglia, Lisetta Carmi, Carla Cerati, Paola Mattioli and Marialba Russo to the more recent experimental work, dating from the 1990s to 2018, of Marina Ballo Charmet, Silvia Camporesi, Monica Carocci, Gea Casolaro, Paola Di Bello, Luisa Lambri, Raffaella Mariniello, Marzia Migliora, Moira Ricci, Alessandra Spranzi and many others.
Women photographers, photo-reporters and artists burst onto the Italian cultural scene in a big way in the 1960s, their acceptance in the world of art and journalism photography, long a bastion of male privilege, being facilitated both by the rapid changes taking place in politics and society and by the new demands being forcefully made by the women's lib movement. It is thanks also to that generation's achievements that women photographers and artists today enjoy such a prominent position on the Italian and international stages, their work being hosted in countless museums, galleries, festivals, magazines and specialist publications both in Italy and abroad. Yet despite this clear reversal of the trend, gender inequality still exists and numerous women photographers' stories have yet to be rediscovered and told. An awareness of this gap in the panorama of Italian photography and a recognition of the institutions', collectors' and critics' broad ignorance of the problem prompted Donata Pizzi to start the collection now on display at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome after being presented at the Milan Triennale in 2016.
The works in the collection illustrate significant moments in the history of Italian photography over the past 50 years, exploring the conceptual, aesthetic and technological changes that have taken place. The central role played by the human body and its transformations, the need to record personal experiences and daily family life and the relationship between individual and collective memories are the central themes explored in the exhibition, bringing together images of different decades and different genres, from photo reportages to more specifically experimental work. The exhibition consists of four sections devoted to: photo reportage and social exposé (Inside Stories); the relationship between the photographic image and feminist thought (What Do You Think of Women's Lib?); the identity and depiction of personal relationships (Identity and Relationships); and contemporary research based on exploring the medium's expressive potential (Looking Beyond).
The exhibition will also be hosting a documentary entitled PARLANDO CON VOI comprising interviews with many of the photographers whose work it showcases, taken from the eponymous book by Giovanna Chiti and Lucia Covi (published by Danilo Montanari Editore) based on an original idea by Giovanni Gastel from AFIP International – Associazione Fotografi Professionisti e Metamorphosi Editrice.