exhibition | Without a Goal. The book as photographic thought

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Without a Goal. The book as photographic thought

Curated by Elio Grazioli

The photo-book is still the ideal repository of photographic visual thought. This has been the case historically, when photographers did not exhibit their photos but published them and their ambition was actually to make books with them. In this era of the Internet and virtual images the same is true once again. Why?
Because what makes the book form competitive has to do precisely with virtual images, with the pleasure that comes of its material quality, which brings into play different kinds of paper, different formats, added contents, enlargements, but especially the infinite possibilities it provides for organizing materials, images, texts, objects and so on – and hence design, graphics and printing methods – that can be used to give substance to one’s vision.

The book is thus the best and most effective of all mediums for conveying the “visual thought”. Space and time co-exist in it and force the photographic artist to reckon with both. Page after page, and two pages facing one another in the open book, make it necessary to deal with sequence, and at the same time provide an opportunity to arrange the material freely, to go back and forth, to guide the eye and invite it to fill gaps or discontinuities. All in all, photo-books are an opportunity for thinking in images, differently than thinking in words or concepts, and for taking time to look, instead of allowing oneself to be driven by the flow of things.
This exhibit displays a selection of recently published photo-books by photographic artists who approach photography and the book format as a way of investigating the visual thought and putting it into effect. These are not catalogues or assembled images but “collections” built gradually, through combinations and leaps, shifts and intervals, dynamic flows and moments of attentiveness.

Many young international photographers are adopting this working method as it gives them an opportunity to enjoy freedom of movement as well as to respond to the current age, it is a way of dealing with and capturing the newest signs of our times.
In this exhibit, which features over sixty books, a number of photographic artists, some of whom have previously exhibited at Fotografia Europea and some who have not – from Wolfgang Tillmans to Juergen Teller, from Annelies Štrba to Ola Rindal, from Joan Fontcuberta to Armin Linke, from Mark Borthwick to Cristina de Middel – will be featuring alongside emerging photographers, a further testimony to the continuity of the Festival’s development path and research. Publications by publishing houses, independent publishers and self-publishers reflect on the ‘visual thought’, charting, to a large extent, the European territory.