Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino at the Italian Cultural Institute

October 4, 2017

Photograph from the portfolio "Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino."
Photograph by Marco Anelli.

Anelli’s latest photographs focus on Magazzino Italian Art’s construction workers as the main protagonists.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK — Magazzino Italian Art, the new art warehouse space in the Hudson Valley dedicated to Post-war and Contemporary Italian Art, announces Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, a multi-year photographic portfolio by Italian photographer Marco Anelli, commissioned by Magazzino founders Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. A curated selection of Marco Anelli’s photographs will be presented at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York (ICI), inaugurating the Institute’s fall season.

Anelli’s portfolio documents Magazzino Italian Art’s construction process in its entirety—from its conceptualization in 2014 to its transformation from an industrial building into a warehouse dedicated to an extraordinary collection of Italian Art. The exhibition, co-organized by the ICI and Magazzino Italian Art, is curated by Magazzino’s Director Vittorio Calabrese and will feature 24 large-format photographs displayed in the Institute’s galleries. The ground floor gallery will present a selection of photographs depicting the different phases of the construction, subtly referencing the passing of time in a juxtaposition of void and materiality, finished and unfinished, detail and the whole. The foyer and the first-floor gallery will be dedicated to some of the portraits Anelli realized during the past two years at Magazzino, shown at a near lifesize scale.

The photographs on display comprise a selection from the comprehensive body of work featured in the forthcoming book Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, Magazzino Italian Art’s first editorial project, to be published by Skira Rizzoli and available in bookstores November 2017.

Over the past two years, Anelli regularly photographed the worksite, with unrestricted access, in the daylight and at night, season after season. The balanced beauty of his photographs captures the passing of time, the fleeting feeling of impermanence and change with a distinguished calmness and serenity, apparent in contrast with the subject of the images themselves. Anelli’s photographs tell the story of Magazzino and the power of art to make us imagine and build, with a unique attention to the people whose work was commissioned to create a place devoted to the work of others. Anelli’s portfolio, in fact, aims not only at documenting the creation of Magazzino Italian Art, but also at recording and portraying the unique human emotions and experiences of the people who made it possible—thus becoming, by all means, an art project in its own right.

“We at Magazzino Italian Art are honored to have commissioned and now present the photographic work of Marco Anelli,” states Magazzino founders, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. “Not only did he follow the various stages of construction, but he also captured the instrumental people devoted to this project in the most elegant and soulful way over the past few years.”

Director of Magazzino Italian Art Vittorio Calabrese states: “Marco’s photographs are more than a document of Magazzino’s creation. The expansiveness of Marco’s approach, which embraces the project of Magazzino in all its human and material aspects, is a fitting tribute to the founders, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. The intricate ecosystem of artists, designers, builders, and researchers that Nancy and Giorgio have fostered is revealed in minute detail through the medium of Marco’s pictures.”

Unique to other photographic projects narrating the construction of art institutions—like those realized for the Louvre (Paris) and the Museum of Modern Art (New York)—Anelli’s work expands its gaze from the raw, inanimate elements to the human presence. The construction workers are portrayed throughout the building phases without any artifice, but with great honesty and respect.

As a result of his inclusive approach, the photographer’s intimate vision unfolds in time, proposing a constant dialogue between architecture, landscape and the workers. As pointed out by Marvin Heiferman, scholar and photography historian, in his essay featured in Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino:

“Anelli’s carefully composed photographs [...] are not strictly documentary images, as they incorporate elements of landscape and still life photography into the mix, as well as touches of poetry and humor. Ultimately, these images communicate not a clear-cut chronology, but a rumination on process, a fascination with the rhythm of work, and, most of all, Anelli’s desire to make pictures that are more meditative than spectacular.”

The public opening for Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino will be hosted Wednesday, October 4 from 6pm to 9pm at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York’s Park Avenue townhouse. On the occasion of the exhibition opening, Giorgio Van Straten, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, the artist and Magazzino Italian Art’s founders Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu will give introductory remarks.

The photographic book Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, published by Skira Rizzoli, comprises 129 color photographs and a preface by Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, along with essays by Manuel Blanco, Alberto Campo Baeza, Marvin Heiferman, Miguel Quismondo and Vittorio Calabrese. The book design is by Beatriz Cifuentes, Waterhouse Cifuentes Design. Copies of Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino will be available in bookstores beginning November 2017.

Marco Anelli
Marco Anelli. Photo by Beatriz Cifuentes © 2017.

Marco Anelli is a Roman-born, New York-based photographer. After specializing in black and white photography and printing techniques in Paris, he started working on photographic projects that evolve over long periods of time. His publications include works on sculpture and architecture (Shadow and Light, Silvana Publisher 1999; All’Ombra del Duomo, Contrasto 2010), sport (Il Calcio, Motta Publisher 2002; Pallacorda, Skira 2004) and classical music (La Musica Immaginata, Motta Publisher 2004; The Gestures of the Spirit, Peliti Publisher 2011). In 2010 he took portraits of 1,545 participants in Marina Abramović’s performance at the MoMA (Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramović, Damiani, Publisher 2010). Since 2011 he’s been exploring the character of the artist and their work as expressed in their studio. Something Wicked This Way Comes is a project that leads the viewer into the creative process of worldwide famous artists such as Matthew Barney, Lawrence Weiner, Cecily Brown, Urs Fischer, Elizabeth Peyton, Julian Schnabel, Vito Acconci and others. In 2015 he completed A Simple Story, his project on the construction of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. New York’s architecture, building sites and their workers are the subjects of his most recent research. He lives and works in New York City.

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