Preview FE 2021

After a pause caused by the measures needed to contain the pandemic, which unfortunately led to the cancellation of the 2020 edition, Fotografia Europea returns to Reggio Emilia with more than twenty photographic projects inspired by a verse by Gianni Rodari On the Moon and on the Earth / make way for dreamers!



Photographers Vittorio Mortarotti and Anush Hamzehian present L’Isola, the result of a last year work order from the festival, while Noémie Goudal presents Telluris, in which she brings together real and theoretical geography, creating a space between physical reality and its mental representation. David Jiménez presents Aura, where he plays with the limits of perception, while Raymond Meeks with the project Halfstory Halflife, shot at the Catskill Mountains waterfalls in the State of New York, where he investigates friendship and youth. Donovan Wylie‘s The Tower Series examines the mostly invisible architecture that weaves the presence of conflict into the fabric of everyday life, while Piergiorgio Casotti and Emanuele Brutti‘s INDEX G project, curated by Fiorenza Pinna, stages a kind of theatre of silence, made up of the absence of characters and of their peculiar stories, in which the things seen and told remain unspoken and suspended in time.

Moreover on the first floor there are two young artists: Lebohang Kganye, who presents Tell Tale and her new production In Search for Memory, in which she confronts the conflicting stories which are told in multiple ways, as a combination of memory and fantasy and Yasmina Benabderrahmane, who presents La Bete, a journey across the sand dunes and plains of her native country Marocco, which after fourteen years of absence she attempts to reclaim through a visual language.

Finally, the ground floor rooms host Universo Dentro, a solo exhibition by the artist Sophie Whettnall, curated by Carine Fol in partnership with the Centrale for Contemporary Art in Brussels. The decision to exhibit the work of an artist alongside that of photographers stems from Whettnal’s particular use of the photographic medium, a means of archiving and a source of inspiration.


True Fictions. Visionary photography from the 1970s to the present day, the first anthological exhibition in Italy dedicated to the phenomenon of staged photography, originally set up and planned to open in autumn, but which remained open for only three weeks, will finally open until 4 July with new big names.


Camere che sognarono camere, a project by Sabine Vollmann-Schipper and Laura Gasparini based on an idea by Thomas Demand and Martin Boyce, developed for the Girefin Collection of Contemporary Art in Reggio Emilia. It is a dialogue between two artists who work extensively with a variety of materials and languages that will offer a stimulating and complex experience in which references, associations and narratives overlap.

On the ground floor, the exhibition Home Is Where One Starts From, dedicated to Photobooks, presents a selection of books of both a documentary and an artistic nature that addresses the theme of home and its many meanings and its essence which lies in the relationship between the physical and intimate dimensions of those who live in it.



For the first time in the history of the festival and before its inauguration, on May 15, 2021 eight projects by contemporary photographers will be the protagonists of unique open-air installations in eight city areas: a different way of experiencing photography, designed to be enjoyed by a wide audience in all conditions.

Alex Majoli presents Opera Aperta, a project ordered and produced by Fondazione I Teatri and Reggio Parma Festival, in collaboration with Fotografia Europea, in which he interprets the theme of theatre and its connection with the city; Joan Fontcuberta presents an important participatory project, created to donate to Reggio Emilia a permanent work dedicated to the collections of Palazzo dei Musei, which has always been a source of inspiration for the Catalan photographer; at Parco del Popolo Jeff Mermelstein is exhibiting #nyc, a multifaceted, comic and heartbreaking investigation into contemporary life; Virus by Antoine d’Agata, a project dedicated to the Covid-19 epidemic, will be set up on the windows of a building in Via Secchi; finally, in Piazza Vittoria Soham Gupta‘s Eden exhibition will be dedicated to an imaginary city that gradually gives way to nature. Alongside these, the exhibition of the photographer who won the Open Call launched by the festival: Marco Di Noia with his project Tottori tells the story of a strange astronomical phenomenon.

The open space will also be the focus of the young people from the Speciale Diciottoventicinque, the training course organised by Fotografia Europea, at the end of which the eight young people aged between 18 and 25, led by tutor Sara Munari, will set up Terra – Luna, a photographic project that will involve visitors in a reflection on photography through play.

This year, Spazio Gerra has also designed its own exhibition proposal with an installation in the garden behind the building. In Back to land the artists Gianluca Abbate, Martin Baraga, Annamaria Belloni, DEM connect the theme of Fotografia Europea with a critical reflection dedicated to the regional rural areas, with a view to enhancing and relaunching lifestyles that are now possible thanks to new technologies.


The exhibition Giovane Fotografia Italiana #8, a project of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, now in its eighth edition, which promotes the talents of contemporary Italian photography under 35. In the group exhibition Reconstruction, the projects by Domenico Camarda, Irene Fenara, Alisa Martynova, Francesca Pili, Vaste Programme (Leonardo Magrelli, Alessandro Tini, Giulia Vigna), Martina Zanin, Elena Zottola, chosen by an international jury composed of curators Ilaria Campioli and Daniele De Luigi and representatives of the partner festivals, explore the combination of photography and imagination to attempt a more authentic understanding of reality.


With Tesori in mostra (Treasures on show), the Panizzi Library displays some of its most precious objects, extraordinary items collected over more than two centuries, which have become the heritage and pride of the city.


With Incontri! Arte e persone exhibits the photos created during the long workshop involving the photographer Luca Manfredi and people with fragilities: an idea born from the project B. Diritto alla bellezza of Reggio Città senza Barriere, dedicated to the encounter between creativity and fragility.



Moreover, thanks to the collaboration with Regione Emilia-Romagna, the festival has built over the years a network with the most important local cultural institutions, which this year in particular will lead to the participation of MAST (Bologna), and Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia) with the exhibitions Show Case. L’archivio esposto and Mollino/Insides, and Linea di Confine per la Fotografia Contemporanea in Rubiera with the exhibitions Lunario by Guido Guidi and Quattro Cortili by Luca Nostri.


The absolute novelty of this edition is PHOTONICA, a musical project realised in collaboration with The Italian New Wave – a Club To Club Festival format to promote new Italian musical creativity – with the artistic direction of Max Casacci (producer and founder of Subsonica) and The Italian New Wave, in which the mixture of images and electronic music builds a “musical facet” of Fotografia Europea.


Alongside the exhibitions, the Festival is accompanied by a calendar of events designed not only for the three opening days – May 21, 22, 23 – but also for the following weeks until July 4: conferences, meetings with artists, book signings, portfolio reviews, workshops, a bookfair dedicated to independent publishers.

In compliance with safety regulations, to protect every participant, face masks will be mandatory and their use will be ensured in all areas; should it not be possible to open the exhibition spaces, the exhibitions will be visible online, and every meeting and conference will also be broadcast live via streaming.