29 October 2003 – 18 January 2004

This exhibition was ideated by the association Amici Torinesi dell’Arte Contemporanea and the GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino as part of the series “Photography as seen by …”. Previous exhibitions of the series hosted excellent personages such as Alberto Arbasino, Leonardo Sciascia, Josif Brodskij, Furio Colombo, Gae Aulenti e Roberto Calasso. It was mounted in collaboration with the Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino and the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.

With regard to L’attimo fuggente fra fotografia e cinema, prestigious architect Renzo Piano declared that the photographic language he appreciates most of all is the snapshot and its association with moving pictures. The image he is referring to is the final sequence of the film Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni in which the explosion of a house is rendered with sensational efficacy through slow-motion showing every detail within in a fragmented tempo to express the total devastation. This idea inspired the thoughts of Daniela Palazzoli, the curator of the event.

The exhibition will immerse visitors into the various phases of the evolution of snapshots along an itinerary that leads to the pre-cinema inventions that projected them at the speed of 24 frames a second. It reconstructs the optical illusion of movement and finally reaches the birth of cinema.

The exhibition is being held simultaneously at two locations:
– At the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli at Lingotto of Turin an anthology is presented, comprising some 200 B/W and color photographs that pay tribute to the inventor of snapshots Eadweard Muybridge (ca. 1878) and include shots that have gone down in history. These images document the history of snapshots as art and as popular communication within various forms of photojournalism. Among the works used are famous images by Cartier Bresson, Jacques-Henry Lartigue, Anton Giulio Bragaglia. There are spectacular images such as the first moonwalk, Edgerton’s drop of milk, the love shots by Doisneau in Paris and Eisenstaedt in New York.

– In the Hall of the Temple in the Museo Nazionale del Cinema of Turin visitors will learn about the ten most significant phases that led to an artistic and industrial phenomenon of extraordinary importance: the invention of cinema. The narration connects the precious apparatuses of pre-cinema with the images they projected, through which the most popular art form of the 20th century was created.

The exhibition is educational from a historical perspective and presents images, objects and themes that enable us to reconstruct the major phases that led to the two fundamental inventions of our time: the snapshot and cinema. The installation and itinerary were designed by architects Franco Origoni and Anna Steiner together with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and it uses the large format reproductions arranged in a scenographic setting to make the visitors feel as though they are “in” the action. Visitors will have first-hand experience of the inability of their eyesight to capture the motion of objects and people.

Then they will eventually understand how this artificial communication works by images in motion and how it can be manipulated through the media flow. Daniela Palazzoli’s thesis is that by acquiring a strong perception of the limitations of human eyesight and the way these limitations have been used in the media and in art to create masterpieces, visitors can continue to enjoy the images without being victims of the “gimmick”.

This exhibition is highly valuable for specialists as well because for the first time it relates the spatial language of snapshots with the temporal language of cinema through the actual viewing process, thereby allowing the optical subconscious to be explored for new creative itineraries.

The catalogue, published by Bompiani Arte del Gruppo Skira, has approximately 250 pages with approximately 200 B/W and color photos.