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22 October 2011 - 26 February 2012, Villa Ciani - Lugano

Haiti. Roberto Stephenson. Photographs. 2000-2010

Exhibited also in Torino, Palazzo Bertalazone, April 21 – May 20, 2012.

HAITI is the sixth stage of the Esovisioni exhibition cycle, and for the first time it focuses on the colour and artistic research of a contemporary photographer. The temporary exhibition is the result of a long research project conducted by the MCL team and Roberto Stephenson. He was born in Italy in 1964 and lived in Rome, London and New York until he moved to Haiti in 2000. He currently lives in the hills overlooking Port-au-Prince. 

The exhibition Haiti. Roberto Stephenson. Fotografie. 2000-2010 presented a journey into the landscape and the existential conditions of Haitians today. It displayed 100 large photographs, which were created throughout the past ten years by one of the most interesting and original photographers of the Island. The work of Roberto Stephenson does have a strong poetic and aesthetic impact, by going beyond the traditional boundaries of reportage and of exotic photography. His work extensively reproduces the game of contrasts and contradictions that constitutes the most immediate perception of Haiti’s socio-cultural background. 

Also exhibited from the 21st of April til the 20th of May 2012 at Palazzo Bertalazone, Torino.

Foto gallery

The Exhibition

The exhibition was divided into four major sections. Volti (Faces) collects giant posters with the faces of Haitian men,women and children, who seem to be questioning the visitor, without expecting an answer. The section entitled Port-au-Prince shows glimpses of the capital, characterized by the evident construction of reality. Stephenson follows a pictorial logic and uses overlaps, fading and combinations of pictures, games of shapes, lights and contrasts which deform the object and result in an almost surreal character. The Terremoto (Earthquake) section displays pictures which were taken in the days immediately following the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. The sequence is intensively and almost obsessively articulated and reproduced the sensation of incredulity and bewilderment towards the event. This is one of the most hidden elements of Stephenson’s poetics. The section entitled Tende (Huts) is dedicated to the dramatic, but poetical, reportage on the tent shelters that were built in the aftermath of the earthquake. These are ephemeral enveloping structures, which worked as a barrier against the fear of the great natural determinisms and the sensation of anguished emptiness left by souls in pain. Paesaggi is the last section of the exhibition and it voluntarily introduces a "break" from the narrative sequence of the previous sections. The architectures of man are evidently replaced by natural architectures and also by architectures of the supernatural - as Stephenson himself seems to suggest. One perceives a painful indefiniteness that is suspended between the fragile oasis of inner searching and the inability to transcend the great forces of nature and society. 

For a brief overview of the exhibition, please click on the following link:

HAITI. Roberto Stephenson. Fotografie. 2000-2010.

edited by Alessia Borellini & Adriana Mazza
Giunti, Firenze 2011, 239 pp.
Esovisioni 6
CHF 55.-
ISBN 978-88-09-77399-8