Questioning Pictures: Stefano Graziani at Fondazione Prada Osservatorio in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, through February 26, 2018

“In Questioning Pictures Stefano Graziani investigates archival and conservation systems in museums like the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, Canada; Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, UK; the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Museum Insel Hombroich in Neuss, Germany; the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy; and the Plaster Cast Gallery at Museo Canova in Possagno, Italy, focusing on the ambivalent relationship between photography and the museum object. Photography navigates an ambiguous territory in Graziani’s work: on one hand he documents diverse materials like drawings and architectural models, books, photographs and paintings; on the other, he embarks on an interpretative path through the careful use of light and camera angles, as well as the inclusion of disturbing elements in his shots. His photographs not only shed light on museum collections and archives usually denied to visitors, but reactivate them according to entirely subjective logic and perspectives.

As Francesco Zanot emphasizes, Questioning Pictures is a sort of crash test designed to assess the museum’s ability to resist external attacks and increase its permeability in proportion. Graziani transforms the invisible into something visible, preventing these terms from being subsequently reversed, and thus sheds light on one of the primary mechanisms through which museums generate and control their power. The regulations that museums impose on reproducing materials in their collections fulfill the same role. Graziani systematically evades them, carrying out an act of civil disobedience by adopting an ethical and formal rigor reminiscent of the photographs of Walker Evans and Lewis Baltz.’ As Okwui Enwezor maintains, Graziani is tackling an indisputable fact ‘because the camera is literally an archiving machine, every photograph… is a priori an archival object.’ And Graziani is building an anti-archive’.” — Fondazione Prada Osservatorio

Exhibition photos (inkjet prints) are by Stefano Graziani.

Soggiorno, Casa-Museo Boschi Di Stefano, Giorgio de Chirico, La scuola dei gladiatori, il combattimento, 1928, (Virginia Guiotto, nello studio di Antonio Boschi), Milan, 2017.

Antonio Canova, Palamede, Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova, Possagno, 2017.

Left: Aldo Rossi, study model for the entrance foyer of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 1987-1990, 12.0 x 25.0 x 25.0 cm, AP142. S1.D122 .P18, Aldo Rossi Fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture, © Fondazione Aldo Rossi, Montreal, 2017.

Center: Gordon Matta-Clark, floor plan for Office Baroque, 1977, blue ballpoint pen on graph paper, 42 x 59.5 cm, PHCON2002:0016:058, Gordon Matta-Clark collection, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Gift of Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / SIAE, Montreal, 2017.

Installation view of the exhibition “Questioning Pictures: Stefano Graziani”

Lucas Cranach d. Ältere, Lucretia, um 1535/40 Öl auf Holz 79 x 64 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Ankauf 1934, inv. 1628, Basel, 2017.

Left: Paintings Cabinet, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 2017. Center: Carlo Scarpa, Museo di Castelvecchio, Ala della Reggia, prospetto e schizzi per la cornice della Madonna con il Bambino di Giovanni Bellini al secondo piano della Reggia, inventory number: 31805, recto, pastello rosso, giallo, blu di due tonalità e lilla su cartoncino, 316 x 432 mm 1958 – 1961, Archivio Carlo Scarpa, Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona, 2017. Right: Félix Bonfils, The Temple of Rameses, Karnak, Thebes, ca.1870’s, Albumen silver print, 22.9 x 28.8 cm, PH1980:0683.01:034, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, 2017.

Natura morta, MR Table, Thonet, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1935, Stiftung Insel Hombroich, Neuss, 2017.

Left: Adolf Loos, Villa Müller (Maria Szadkowska, Curatrice di Villa Müller), 1928, The City of Prague Museum, Prague, 2017. Right: Gordon Matta-Clark, drawing n. 6 from seven proposals for Documenta, 1977, 21.0 x 30.2 cm, PHCON2002:0016:046:006, Gordon Matta-Clark Collection, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Gift of Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / SIAE, Montreal, 2017.

Left: John Hejduk, presentation model for the House of the Painter, 1984, 51.3 x 25.4 x 61.0 cm, DR1998:0105, John Hejduk fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture, © CCA, Montreal, 2017.

Questioning Pictures is an exhibition project by Stefano Graziani. Curated by Francesco Zanot, the exhibition includes a new body of works commissioned by Fondazione Prada that explores photography as a tool for narration, cataloguing and reinterpretation.

Installation photos by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada.