On Saturday 2nd April 2016 the Vistamare gallery inaugurates an exhibition of work by Mimmo Jodice, one of Italy’s greatest photographers. The rooms of the gallery will be occupied by approximately 25 photographs from some of Jodice’s most representative series.
In contrast with the artist’s previous exhibition in 2011 in our gallery, on this occasion the focus lies on the themes of Nature and of Expectation, together with a small selection of works dedicated to Archaeology.

After initial experiments with painting, by the early 1960s Mimmo Jodice (born in Naples in 1934) had already begun to work with photography. After many years during which he dedicated himself to research, conceptual experimentation and social reportage, he turned to his home town of Naples, portrayed with extraordinary critical detachment in the celebrated series Vedute di Napoli [Views of Naples]. Here the unreal and desolate face of a city devoid of human presence expresses the artist’s discomfort and delusion when confronted with the broken promises, the brutal rivers of cement with which opportunistic speculators were flooding the town, and the “hands over the city” [the title of Francesco Rosi’s 1963 film] that were distorting its diaphanous beauty. Jodice’s gaze then broadened to take in the Mediterranean as a whole – his homeland and the cradle of cultures. He has always chosen to work in black and white, a medium whose apparent contrasts in reality conceal an infinite gamut of greys that enrich the monochrome with unexpected hues. Much of the work takes place in the darkroom, where the artist prints and retouches the images himself in a sort of dance of gestures – employing light as a fundamental element of his creativity. The analog camera remains a tool for creating – never merely describing the external world.

The exhibition at Vistamare welcomes the visitor with a series of images representing the vestals of the ancient world. These are hieratic figures, immobile and fascinating, testifying to Jodice’s particular sensitivity to the world of archaeology and to the peoples whose stories became the myths of the Mediterranean world. The exhibition continues with another of the artist’s most famous  series – Attesa [Expectation] – a theme that has been important for him since the mid 1980s and to which he has returned in recent years with a new group of images which are on show here for the very first time. In these photographs urban and natural landscapes are represented empty of any human presence (as was the case in his Vedute di Napoli), and here there is no suggestion of movement, so that the landscapes themselves seem to seek out a deliberate absence and become a physical representation of the idea of emptiness. The images loom, mysterious in their immutability, prompting the viewer to ask himself what it is that these internalized landscapes are waiting for. They are visions in which time seems frozen, its natural flow arrested. These works suggest a metaphysical memory, they seem to recall a distant reality immersed in a visionary silence. The few elements present – often everyday objects such a chair, a spade, a sunbed – simply accentuate this sense of something missing. Like passages of sound from a single symphony, the photographs on the theme of Natura [Nature] spread out through the remaining rooms of the gallery. In this section of the exhibition the vegetable kingdom is the unquestioned protagonist, and whether wild or cultivated it is always captured in bizarre and discordant forms, trees and fronds undergoing a sort of enchanted transformation and acquiring a human semblance. Finally, in the Città Visibili [Visible Cities] series the photographer’s gaze slowly reveals the surreal beauty of a series of urban spaces, some of which are famous, such the Louvre pyramids or the views of Venice, whilst others are anonymous, but all revealing Jodice’s interest in architecture as an instrument for a novel exploration of the city, testifying to “the incapacity to accept chaos and silence”. Once again the series combines both recent and historical photographs – proofs to years of continuous research. Everything is seen and interiorized through an eye that is used to investigating history and beauty with a gaze rich in curiosity and a style that is severe and determined. Jodice’s eye lingers on the sense of disquietude and bewilderment, on the idea of suspense or latency that these timeless spaces communicate – so different from our normal idea of them. His consistent use of black and white emphasizes the deliberate distancing from empirical reality in favour of an evocative and intimate vision. Mimmo Jodice’s photographs are timeless.

One man shows dedicated to Mimmo Jodice’s work have been presented in the following museums: New York, Memorial Federal Hall,1985; Beijing, Imperial Archives, 1994; Philadelphia Museum  of Art, 1995; Kunstmuseum Dusseldorf, 1996; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 1998, Paris; Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, 1998; Museo di Capodimonte, Naples 1998; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland 1999; Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, Rome 2000; Castello di Rivoli, Turin 2000; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Turin 2000; MassArt, Boston 2001; Wakayama, Museum of Modern Art, Japan 2004, The Museum of Photography, Moscow 2004; MASP – Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo 2004; MART – Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto 2004; Italian Cultural Institute, Tokyo 2006, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna 2006; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna 2006; Spazio Forma, Milan 2007, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples 2008, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome 2010, M E P Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris 2010, Musée du Louvre, Paris 2011, Musée McCord, Montreal 2012, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki 2012, Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio 2013, Kunstsammlung, Jena 2013, Hotel des Arts, Toulon 2014, Foro Boario, Modena 2014, PhotoMed, Beirut 2015.
In 2003 the Accademia dei Lincei awarded him the prestigious ‘Antonio Feltrinelli’ prize, the first time the prize was ever given for photography. Again in 2003 his name was included in the Enciclopedia Treccani [Italy’s most important encyclopedia]. In 2006 the Università degli Studi Federico II in Naples awarded him an honorary degree in Architecture, and in 2011 the French Ministry of Culture honoured him with the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.