curated by Elena Magini
Twenty-five years of photography at the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato in the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to Jacopo Benassi: with the exhibition Void, curated by Elena Magini, from 8 September to 28 February 2021 the Prato museum will display the powerful, highly personal and mediation-free work of the photographer from La Spezia.
From the artist's study partly recreated inside the exhibition to the rooms of Centro Pecci, the exhibition project develops in a dilated spatiality that displays some of the series and most significant works by the artist, also spilling over into the city spaces where the exhibition is announced by a site-specific billboard project.
His first photograph shows a punk group in a community centre: from the late Eighties Jacopo Benassi was shaped by the underground culture of La Spezia, over time developing a distinct style marked by a lack of depth of field and flash; photography that was raw and true, despite the almost complete lack of real light: a forced act, an event created by the artist in which the perfect shot does not exist.
Benassi's subjects are highly disparate, ranging from the humanity that inhabits the underground and international music scene (starting with the experience of the Btomic club, managed by the photographer himself with some friends) to portraits of models, actresses, artists and designers published in the most important Italian magazines, and the investigation of the body, which varies from his autobiographic documentation of sexual encounters to an intense look at ancient statuary which can be considered the “common thread” of his gargantuan output.
The self portrait occupies a special place in Benassi’s work, often linked to his performative path: his experimentation with performance, his or that of others, is constantly linked to music and is always mediated by the photographic image, the subject and object of his research.
The exhibition also includes unpublished works linked to Benassi’s interest in publishing and book production; a forthcoming editorial work gave rise to the series The Belt, a project on the industrial district of Prato in collaboration with Archivio Manteco, which in addition to being exhibited will be the focus of the public billboards in the city in the days leading up to the exhibition.
With The Belt, from 31 August, the images, tools and men and women who will bring Prato’s textile district to life become the subjects of the images displayed on the large advertising boards at various point of the city. The choice to preview the exhibition with a work focused on Prato and its factories follows the Centro Pecci's interest in a more dynamic relationship with the community, capable of bringing the museum outside the bounds of its walls.
The title of the exhibition – Void – refers to the author's specific feeling about his production: an “emptying” intended as a path of public self-exposure.
In this exhibition the photographer gives himself entirely to the viewer, handing over his studio, tools, the creative landscape that accompanies him in the gestation of his work, and the set of shots that gave rise to a twenty-year investigation into issues of identity, the night, and work.
This is an act of opening up to the outside, which represents a point zero in the artist's career and, on the other hand, a possible rebirth.
Thanks to the Francesca Minini gallery and Archivio Manteco for helping to organise the exhibition.
september 8, 2020 — february 28, 2021
Photo: Jacopo Benassi, Brutal Casual, 2020
Viale della Repubblica, 277, 59100 Prato PO, Italia
September 8, 2020 – February 28, 2021