14 December 2023 - 18 February 2024, Villa Malpensata, Spazio Maraini
Unpublished Photo (UP) is an international competition conceived in 2018 by the 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery in Milan, and promoted since 2020 by the Fondazione culture e musei (FCM) and by MUSEC Lugano. Young photographers under 30 are invited to present a portfolio of ten unpublished images developing a narrative of their free choice. UP23 was attended by more than two hundred photographers from thirty-five countries around the world. The interests they expressed regarded today’s most relevant themes of global importance, such as the protection of the environment and the upholding of human dignity; another element that is very much present in the works of these photographers is the exploration of non-conventional languages resonating with personal identities and sensitivities. The international jury, presided over by the Italian photographer Roberto Polillo and including Eugenio Calini, Francesco Paolo Campione, Vittoria Fragapane, Paolo Gerini, Giovanna Palandri, and Tiziana Serena chose, in this order: Andrey Podlednev (Russia), Madeleine Brunnmeier (Germany), Aleksandr Lialiushkin (Russia), and W.VV.VV (Singapore). The special Artphilein Editions Prize, which consists of the publication of a bilingual art monograph in English and German, was awarded to Madeleine Brunnmeier. On display are six first prints for each of the winners, including the original title and the year the portfolio was made. The exhibition is completed with a bilingual Italian-English catalogue with all ten photographs by each of the four winners (FCM Editions).
Andrey Podlednev was born in Khabarovsk (Eastern Russia) in 2004 and in 2015 moved to St. Petersburg. He began taking pictures when he was a young boy, using old equipment of Soviet production, and his passion grew when his parents gave him a Canon 2000. Since then, photography has become his inseparable companion, an extension of his eye. In 2022, thanks to his friend, the photographer Nikolay Schegolev, he discovered the world of steam trains, which are still running along the historical railway lines. Thus was born the project Living Legends. Some of the photographs were taken in the locomotive repair depot in St. Petersburg, others in Peterhof and along the railway line to Belarus. Podlednev captures with lyricism the majesty of the steam locomotive and pays tribute to the nameless engine drivers and workers he has met during his travels, an experience that has touched this young photographer’s soul. They are the «living legends» that will become the title of the series: the guardians of metal relics from the past, smothered in soot.
Madeleine Brunnmeier was born in 1995 in Southern Germany. Her creative vein was already clear to see in the drawings she made as a child. As a teenager she began experimenting with photography, using a digital device, discovering a remarkable, almost magical connection with the visual world. Her curiosity in seeking new ways to express emotions was initially realized via the self-portrait. In 2017 she moved to Berlin to study art and to try out other forms of expression, but photography remained her intimate refuge.
The protagonists in the portfolio Gestalten (2020-2023) are men and women of all ages, portrayed in their homes wearing their entire wardrobe. Clothing thus loses its primary function and becomes sculptural material, capable of revealing the profound identity of each of the individuals. Brunnmeier, who was to some extent inspired by the imposing costumes of ancient European folklore used in the traditional carnivals, chose to work with an analog technique here: a return to the roots of the photographic medium and a stimulating creative challenge.
Aleksandr Lialiushkin (1993) began practicing photography while studying journalism in Nižnij Novgorod, and in 2016 he earned a degree in contemporary art in Saint Petersburg. Since then he has cultivated research that combines photography, his main means of expression, and the performing arts. In 2022 he left Russia and moved to Germany. It was in Germany that the artist completed the project Breakdowns, which he began in 2016 in Russia and then interrupted. By drawing parallels between the marionette and the human being, the photographer seeks a metaphorical connection between master and slave, between the living and the artificial, between those who feel pain and those who lack emotions. Two figures in a neutral space copy each other, seeking to become one single thing, in order to stop being reborn over and over again. The marionette, which is non-living, does so easily, feeling nothing. The human being expresses his feelings in the pain caused by the unnatural poses, pain that is not reflected in his face, however, thereby increasing the alienating nature of the series.
Born in 1995, the artist and designer of augmented reality W.VV.VV have chosen to hide their own identity and express themselves in images that translate a deep fascination with cyberpunk culture. For Psytopia, between 2019 and 2023 the artist wandered for countless nights and dawns along the streets of different cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo, and Hiroshima. Their attention is focused on the urban scenes that often go unnoticed, and on the places where people seldom go. The elaboration of the images and the special use of colours evoke a sense of solitude and desolation, which leave the hustle and bustle of crowded cities in the background. Each image digs deep into a psychological dimension, transfiguring ordinary landscapes into an ultra-terrestrial hallucination. The project intends to affirm the power of evoking emotions and of inspiring introspection, reflecting the artist’s personal journey through the labyrinth of their psyche.