Samuel Gratacap



In collaboration with  Léa Bismuth, Marie Sumalla and Nicolas Jimenez
the exhibition is produced by Fotografia Europea with Les filles du calvaire gallery, Paris
With the support of FNAGP, CNAP, Le Monde, fonds de dotation agnès b. and Olympus


Fotografia Europea’s theme is explained in his most social and politic view by Samule Gratacap and his project Fifty-Fifty.

An exhibition that brings its audience into a narrative where the relationship between visibility and invisibility plays out among those that live here, and those that find themselves here, for better or for worse.

December 2014

I arrive in Libya for the first time. Ras Jdir, at the border with Tunisia, then the port city of Zuwara known for the departures and sinking of boats carrying migrants heading to Italy.

Those who live fifty-fifty: life or death.

In Zuwara I meet Younes, aged 26, a telecommunication engineer who has become a fixer for journalists. He also fights during the war between Western and Eastern Libya divided at the time in two separate governments based in Tripoli in the west and Tobruk in the east.

When I first meet him he asks me a question. It is both deeply affecting and pertinent :

“Are you here for the migrants or for the war ?”

Deeply affecting since it reveals the media’s intentions and their interests for his country, pertinent and direct since it sets the context :

Is it possible to separate war from the migrants’ fate ?

I answer I am here for the migrants but that I will find it difficult to ignore war because just as we speak his own city is stricken.

2012 -2014

I carry out a project in Tunisia in the Choucha camp where I meet refugees from the Libyan war and it encourages me to set off to Libya. There I am determined to enter detention centers for migrants and to reexamine a wreckage site recorded by a fisherman on an undated amateur-video. My first intentions have to be reconsidered as I encounter obstacles, people and travel restrictions, all of which decide on the continuation of my project.

2014- 2016

I travel more specifically along the Tripolitania coast : Sabratha, Mellitah, Zawiya, Sorman, Tripoli, Misrata, Abougrain, Syrte. This is both the most populated area regarding population density per km2 and the most symbolical in reference to the February 17 revolution of 2011 which offered high hopes but quickly dashed.

The economy collapses, the country is ruined.

The migrants – most of them from subsaharan Africa – see Libya’s reconstruction as an economical opportunity before they can go back home or reach Europe. These hopes and dreams meet with the chaotic situation of the country as the conflict still remains in a political deadlock.

The reality is but smuggling and human trafficking: hard labor, rapes, arbitrary imprisonments, kidnapping and racketeering.

Samuel Gratacap

Born in 1982, Samuel Gratacap graduated from the École supérieure des beaux-arts of Marseilles (ESBAM) in 2010. Intrigued by the reality behind the data on immigration, in 2007 he went to Marseilles, in a center of administrative detention where he begins to portray people looking for a future, looking for what they call “luck”. Following the testimonies of these migrants, he moves to Lampedusa, then to Zarzis (Tunisia) and Choucha, on the border with Libya and finally to Tripoli, where he continues his work on detention centers and day-workers’ collection points.

Samuel Gratacap won a CNAP scholarship in 2012 (support fund for contemporary documentary photography), and then the Le Bal-ADAGP de la Jeune Création award in 2013. His first solo exhibition, entitled La Chance, was exhibited at the CRAC Languedoc-Roussillon de Sètes in 2014. The two-year project in Tunisia at the Choucha refugee camp (2012-2014) was shown in a solo show at Le Bal (Paris) in 2015 and was published by Edizioni Filigranes . In 2017 he won the EMOP Arendt Award following the staff organized by MUDAM. The same year he presented Fifty Fifty to Les Rencontres d’Arles, a project on Libya that was devastated by the war and the drama of migrants.

SUNDAY, APRIL 14th › 2 pm

Guided tour with Samuel Gratacap


SATURDAY, APRIL 27th › 4pm

Guided tour


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



opening days
April 12th › 7pm - 11pm
April 13th › 10am - 11pm
April 14th › 10 am - 8pm

April 20th to June 9th
Saturday and Sunday › 10am-7pm

Special openings
April 22nd, 25th, 26th › 10am-7pm
May 1st, 2nd, 3rd › 10am-7pm

Night openings
April 27th › 10am-11pm
May 4th › 10am-11pm
May 25th › 10am-11pm
June 1st › 10am-11pm

Chiostri di San Pietro