Capturing humanity through the lens: Rome’s Palazzo Esposizioni presents two extraordinary photography exhibitions
From 10 October 2023, to 28 January 2024, Palazzo Esposizioni will host “Don McCullin in Rome” and “Boris Mikhailov: Ukrainian Diary“, two extraordinary photography exhibitions in Rome that feature artists whose authentic photographs have indelibly marked the world of photography.
While these exhibitions are distinct, they share a profound connection in their exploration of themes that delve into the human condition. Don McCullin’s work documents the realities of war, poverty, and famine, while Boris Mikhailov’s photography explores the socio-political changes in post-Soviet Ukraine. Both artists are celebrated for their honest and authentic photographic styles, capturing the essence of their subjects in a deeply moving manner.
Don McCullin in Rome
This exhibition is a tribute to the extensive body of work by acclaimed British photographer Don McCullin. It is the most comprehensive collection of his work to date, spanning every phase of his career, right up to his most recent photographs.
Born in Finsbury Park, London, Don McCullin’s is renowned for his courageous and emotionally engaging approach to photography. His work spans a wide range of subjects, including war, poverty, famine, and landscapes.
I operate not as a photographer but as a human being. I try to balance what I photograph not as a photographer but as a person, a man, and photography has got nothing to do with it. It is just something I have learnt, it is just a way of communicating.Don McCullin
This exhibition houses over 200 photographs personally printed by McCullin himself. It is thoughtfully organized into six exhibition spaces, each dedicated to a specific thematic group of his work: Early Work in London and Berlin; War Photographs; Documentary Practice in the United Kingdom; International Documentary and Travel; British Landscapes and Still Life; The Roman Empire.
In the section titled The Roman Empire, McCullin takes us on a visual journey through the remnants of the Roman Empire around the southern Mediterranean. From Morocco and Algeria in the southwest to Syria and Lebanon in the northeast, McCullin spent years seeking out and photographing iconic sites like Baalbek, Palmyra, and Volubilis.
“Don McCullin in Rome” is curated by Simon Baker, in collaboration with Don McCullin and Tim Jefferies, with the assistance of Catherine Fairweather, Jeanne Grouet, and Lachlann Forbes. The exhibition is sponsored by the Assessorato alla Cultura di Roma Capitale and Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, which also produced and organized it.
Boris Mikhailov: Ukrainian Diary
Today, Boris Mikhailov is celebrated as one of the most influential contemporary artists hailing from Eastern Europe. With a career spanning over fifty years, he has ventured into experimental photography, exploring a wide range of social and political themes. Since the 1960s, he has been witness to the transformative events in Ukraine, closely tied to the fall of the Soviet Union.
This exhibition is a remarkable compilation of over 800 images, encompassing his earliest works to his most recent creations. Mikhailov’s artistic journey has unfolded through series, each marked by its unique technique, format, and approach. The exhibition unites images selected from approximately twenty series created between 1965 and the 2000s.
In the series produced during Ukraine’s Soviet era, Mikhailov questions collective memory and reflects on the societal contradictions of that time. Yesterday’s Sandwich, dating back to 1965, juxtaposes beauty with ugliness, presenting a dual reality. Red (1968–1975) explores the omnipresence of the color red, symbolizing the ever-present reach of the communist regime into individual consciousness. Luriki (1971–1985) and Sots Art (1975–1986) cynically dissect the idealization of reality in propaganda images.
The word ‘red’ in Russian has the same root as the word for beauty. It also means the Revolution and evokes blood and the red flag. Everyone associates red with Communism. But few people know that red permeated all our lives.Boris Mikhailov
Boris Mikhailov’s unwavering exploration of challenging topics showcases the transformative potential of art. Over the course of more than five decades, he has stood as a witness to the hold of the Soviet system on his homeland, crafting a photographic narrative of Ukraine’s contemporary history.
This exhibition was curated by Laurie Hurwitz in close collaboration with Boris and Vita Mikhailov, and with support from the Department of Culture of Rome Capital and the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo. It has been produced by the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo and organized in collaboration with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.
Until January 28th 2024
Via Nazionale, 194
Opening times: Tue – Sun 10am – 8pm
Full price: € 12,50
Reduced: € 10,00