The seven photographs in the museum’s collection, presented on the occasion of the project Per_forming a collection, represent a selection drawn from the one hundred forty images of the exhibition Capri. Un pretesto (“Capri. A Pretext”), organized by the Naples-based Studio Trisorio and hosted at the Certosa di San Giacomo on Capri in July 1983.
Since its foundation in 1974, Studio Trisorio has distinguished itself as a gallery with a high regard for avant-garde artistic productions. Ahead of its time, it is a center of aggregation that adopts a transversal focus on the visual arts, also accommodating film, video and photography. Between the 70s and 80s, the Trisorio family invited international artists to stay at Villa Orlandi in Anacapri, where their ideas and projects exploited the island and its landscapes as a source of inspiration.
The exhibition Capri. Un pretesto sprang from the idea to stimulate the creativity of a group of seven international photographers, starting with a stay on the island. The photographers involved were Paul den Hollander, Franco Fontana, Luigi Ghirri, Ralph Gibson, Mimmo Jodice, Claude Nori and Wilhelm Schuermann, whose images recounted the island’s identity through different points of view, cultures and sensibilities.
Paul den Hollander viewed Capri through his extraordinary feeling for natural landscapes, where human figures are often captured from behind or in passing, as if an accidental or fleeting presence. Luigi Ghirri, one of the most influential photographers on the Italian and international scene of those years, portrayed landscapes, roads and passers-by with his ironically poetic viewpoint, abstracting elements of reality into a dimension of suspended artificiality, following a path embarked upon a couple of years earlier when the Campania region invited him to photograph Naples in the company of six other international photographers. The images of Wilhelm Schuermann, meanwhile, captured the island’s landscapes with the quick snapshots of a reporter, featuring the sensibility for architectural forms that has always characterized his work. In a different way, Claude Nori settled his spontaneous gaze on people and streets, creating images with a more intimate, almost sensual warmth, attracted by chance encounters and people’s gestural expressiveness. A dimension of sensuality is also present in Ralph Gibson’s photos, which convey the sophisticated beauty of Capri through a highly alluring black and white. Elegance and a clarity of forms are qualities that distinguish the black-and-white photographs by Mimmo Jodice. Lastly, with his very personal use of color, Franco Fontana produced images of great visual impact that transmit the extraordinary beauty of the “isola azzurra” (Blue Island).