Paola De Pietri

© Paola De Pietri

dalla serie Istanbul new stories, stampa digitale ai pigmenti su carta cotone © Paola De Pietri

Istanbul new stories

times and locations

Chiostri di San Pietro
via Emilia San Pietro, 44/c
42121 Reggio Emilia

friday 11th may open from 6.30 pm to 12 pm; saturday 12th and sunday 13th may from 10 am to 12 pm; from 17th may to 24th june open on thursday and friday from 7 pm to 11 pm; saturday, sunday and national holidays from 10 am to 11 pm; closed on monday, tuesday and wednesday


For the seventh Fotografia Europea festival, the photographer Paola De Pietri will be conducting a project in the city of Istanbul. In the next few months the artist will be based in the Turkish city where she will investigate a selection of topics relating to the new communities, the spaces undergoing transformation and the way people live. Istanbul is a complex city that has undergone burgeoning economic as well as cultural development, with consequent increases in population and urban development. Today the city has over thirteen million inhabitants and the population is constantly growing.

Paola De Pietri’s study will focus on new communities, where the transformation of spaces both precedes and follows coexistence. Still conflict-free, possibly due to lack of mutual knowledge, fragile, newly-built communities are springing up at a lightning rate and are seeing the interaction between the singular element of the individual, the plural element of the family (minimal community) and the random emergence of the plural element of the community.

The project will focus on ‘new’ factors and, in particular, on what is happening along the borders of a city that is constantly growing and where territorial and social expansion also marks the boundary between built-up areas and the countryside.

This multiplicity of topics will be analyzed within a set time frame that will act as a parameter of observation for the investigation. The photographic production will start off by showing housing plans, which can be large, medium or small scale, and will go on to portray the new community that, still at the embryonic stage, will be taking possession of the new homes.

This project seeks to move away from large-scale visions of the city to a more intimate dimension, where the general topics associated with the metropolis are applied to a more circumscribed environment, in which everyone can recognize their own existence in that of others.

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She was born in 1960 in Reggio Emilia where she lives and works. She studied at the University of Bologna’s Department of Drama, Art, and Music Studies, Faculty of Letters and Philosophy. Her images are the product of detailed studies of the territory, both in terms of the urban landscape of Italian cities and of the natural landscape of organic and plant life.

Right from her initial photographic series she has worked on the subject of man’s relationship with space and its temporal dimensions. In 1994 she took photos of fragments of landscapes and people from a hot-air balloon. In 1997-99 she produced a series of diptychs where one or more people walking in the street were photographed in two successive moments in a contiguous space. Time becomes the matrix of every personal story and enhances identity. The same formative action of time over nature, whereby places are perceived as being under permanent transformation is the leitmotif of the series of photographs she produced between 2000 and 2001, as well as her 2002 photos of lava on Etna. In 2004 she realized ‘Dormi sonni tranquilli?’ (Do you sleep peacefully?), consisting of night time images of suburban neighbourhoods where houses and green spaces follow one another in succession in a well-defined urban space and assume a disturbing, sometimes unsettling look. Man’s relationship with the space he inhabits is also a distinctive feature of the projects ‘Here again’ (2003), ‘La nuova casa’ (The new house, 2004) the ‘Vajont’ series (2005), with alternating portraits of people and landscapes, and the series ‘Io parto’ (I’m leaving, 2008).

In 2008 she worked on the project ‘To Face’ completed in 2011, for which she was awarded the Albert Renger-Patzsch Prize. This particular photography series, taken along the main ridge of the Alps and in the Karst area, shows still partially recognizable  spots of the battles of the First World War such as craters, depressions, trenches and caves that seem camouflaged and look as if they have been reabsorbed by the natural habitat. She has participated in major exhibitions in Italy and Europe.