Antoine d’Agata




VIRUS is a visual document, evidencing human vulnerability during the pandemic. It is the first chapter of an ongoing work in process about the pandemic and its consequences. Composed of thermal images taken in hospital resuscitation wards, refugee centers and uninhabited public spaces in France during the first confinement.

Antoine d’Agata has been following the heat stored by the bodies, first in the street searching for those on the margins of social life, the homeless, the addicts and the prostitutes who had no access to supplies and continued to live on the street and then in Covid-19’s continuous care and resuscitation units of large hospitals, where he found something like a liturgical relationship to the bodies.

The use of thermal technology offers the ability to capture information that photography cannot. It is not a question of aesthetics but of a technique that allows to generate a visual language apprehending reality from both an existential and a political perspective.

The project questions the global social and political dynamics in the context of the pandemic under the incandescent set of a city under lockdown to the hospitals where the nurses and the patients carrying the virus are applying a daily ritual of life and death gestures.


Antoine d’Agata transforms these opaque spaces into a theatre of shadows. He obliterates the very surface of things, the skin of beings and the skin of the world, only to better reveal its tragic dimension.


The artist sought to apprehend, in the ambivalence between solidarity and contamination, the threat of social and physiological death.

The thermal image freezes forms, postures, figures, poses, zones, imperceptible to the naked eye.


“Virus” is a project structured in two stages. The first part in 2020 during an artistic residency at the Browsntone Foundation, Antoine d’Agata generated 13,000 images (6,500 in the streets of Paris and, 6,500 images in various hospitals), sometimes sleeping inside hospital buildings, photographing the interactions between ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses and patients, gestures that encompass the medical, the hygienic and the comforting.  A self-published book has been published as the result of this part. The second part is currently being developed through a residency at the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) in Marseille.

Antoine d’Agata (Marseille, 1961) is a photographer, filmmaker and member of the Magnum Photos agency. He studied at the ICP (NYC) and won the Niépce Prize (2001) and the Prix du livre d’auteur des Rencontres d’Arles (2013). His photographs are part of several international collections and he has exhibited in various museums around the world.


His work can be read as an exploration of contemporary violence through two distinct perspectives: Daytime violence or economic and political violence (migration, refugees, poverty and war) and Night-time violence (the survival of social groups marginalized by poverty that generate means of survival through crime (drugs, theft or sexual excess). His latest book, Virus, Studio Vortex, 2020.


Via Secchi
Reggio Emilia


21 MAY - 4 JULY

open air