Franco Fontana



FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE will host an exhibition, titled Synthesis, over three sites – Palazzina dei Giardini, MATA – the former tobacco factory and the Sala Grande of Palazzo Santa Margherita – tracing more than 60 years of the artist’s career and exploring his personal relationships with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.


The exhibition is subdivided into two sections. The first, curated by Diana Baldon, is installed in the Sala Grande of Palazzo Santa Margherita and in the Palazzina dei Giardini. It includes 30 artworks created between 1961 and 2017, the majority of which have never previously been exhibited, and are selected from the artist’s vast photographic archive. This section presents the synthesis – evoked in the show’s title – of Fontana’s artistic career. This core group of works comprises quintessential examples of the photographer’s signature style: urban and rural landscapes that transport their audience on a fantastical journey, from Modena to Cuba via China, the USA and Kuwait.


The second section, curated by Fontana himself and installed at MATA – Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, presents around 120 photographs selected from the collection of 1.600 artworks that the artist donated to Modena City Council and Civic Art Gallery in 1991. These works constitute an important element of the collection’s heritage, which is now managed by Fondazione Modena Arti Visive. This section of the exhibition highlights the close relationships the artist fostered with some of the greatest names in international photography, including Gianni Berengo Gardin, Mario Giacomelli, Luigi Ghirri, Josef Koudelka, Arnold Newman and Sebastião Salgado, to name but a few.




Franco Fontana was born in 1933 in Modena, where he continues to live and work. Among some of his most important solo shows are Vita Nova (New Life), Palazzo Ducale, Genoa (2014); La luz del paisaje (Landscape Light), IVAM, Valencia (2011); Franco Fontana, Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (2007); Ombre e colori (Shadows and Colours), Palazzo Reale, Milan (2004); Franco Fontana, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin (2001); Sorpresi nella luce americana (Surprises in American Light), Galleria Civica, Modena (2000). His works are held in the collections of some of the most important international museums, including Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; International Museum of Photography, Rochester, NY; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Pushkin Museum, Moscow; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo; Musée d’Art moderne, Paris; Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

exhibition venue

Palazzo Santa Margherita, Sala Grande

Corso Canalgrande 103, Modena


Palazzina dei Giardini,

Corso Cavour 2, Modena


MATA – Ex Manifattura Tabacchi,

via della Manifattura dei Tabacchi 83, Modena




opening hours

Opening : Friday, March 22nd


from March 23rd to June 20th  2019:

Wednesday-Friday: 11 am -1 pm/ 4 pm – 7pm

Saturday, Sunday and holidays : 11 am – 7pm


From June 21st to August 25th 2019:

Thursday – Sunday: 5 pm – 10 pm



full price: 6 euros
reduced: 4 euros


Reduction to 4 euros with the entrance ticket to Fotografia Europea



059 2032911/2032940