“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.
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.