In times where it is no longer fiction meddling into reality but digital truth invading the territories of fiction, the exhibition of the snapshots that some great photographers dedicated to the cinema makes us reflect on the relationship between reality and fiction, between truth and illusion and between real life and reverie. The work done by the Magnum photographers has nothing to do with still photography – predictable images taken on film sets for promotional purposes – but it is a veritable creative exploration performed with no constraints, with intellectual honesty and creative freedom, to tell the behind-the-scenes not so much of the film set, but of the characters who, just a short time later, would make the history of the big screen. The cinema could well be considered the mirror of the world, but also its dream and its invention: no other artistic expression was ever so closely tied to reality precisely because it is based on the concept of fiction. On the big screen, most of the time, reality and fiction are so close as to become confused: the more the camera is neutralized, the more reality seems to come across naturally and the more we are experiencing a conscious fiction.
The visual narration of the exhibition underscores a complicity between actors and photographers, a feeling that on the one hand frees the characters from having to assume conventional poses, and on the other spurs the photographers to seek all those details that make every moment unique and unrepeatable, hence truer than actual reality. Irony, fragility, awareness of expression, impertinence, emotion, vulnerability and devotion to one’s profession. The outcome is a gallery of portraits, of non-conventional compositions, of visual moments so implausible that the visitor is projected in an alternative dimension, more intimate and reserved, even with the consciousness of being in front of a camera lens.
Every shot is expressed as an experiential place where we lose sight of the barrier between knowledge and deception, between person and professional, between finite and infinite with a series of images that powerfully penetrate the minds of the observer, stimulating him to imagine a scene or in some cases to actually conclude it. The imagination corresponds to an inexhaustible work that the artist produces on the phenomenal datum: without reality, fiction could not exist, but without fiction, there probably would be no true reality.
Magnum On Set exhibition
2nd July – 13th November 2016