New Italian Photography – is it on anyone’s radar? Selva Barni, Massimo Torrigiani and Francesco Zanot, the trifecta behind edgy photography quarterly Fantom, and the curators of a new exhibition dedicated to this very theme at Milan’s Viasaterna gallery, prove that it should be.
'It’s been so under the radar for so many years,' says Torrigiani, who in addition to co-directing Fantom, is the curatorial director of Milan’s contemporary art space Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea (PAC). 'But it’s now a very good time for young Italian photographers. No one has been looking at these artists at all, so they’ve been able to grow and develop without any outside influence or pressure.'
While no one else may consider it cool, Fantom has made it its business to carefully watch to these budding artists. 'It’s been years of research,' adds Barni, who launched the title in 2009 and has gone on to expand the magazine into a curatorial collective. 'We get tons of portfolios, we visit all the studios and we go to all the small shows that no one else attends.'
Fantom has now whittled down a worthy group of 13 artists they feel show the most promise, chosen on the basis of their originality and diversity in content. They are brought together at Viasaterna, a new gallery nestled into a corner just off of Milan’s Parco Sempione, whose programming is curated exclusively by Barni's brand.
The artists include Alessandro Calabrese, Federico Clavarino, Martina Corà, Bea De Giacomo, Teresa Giannico, Delfino Sisto Legnani, Allegra Martin, Vittoria Mentasti, Domingo Milella, Francesco Nazardo, Alessandro Sambini, Lele Saveri and The Cool Couple. All are born post 1980—babies by Italian standards. 'But that’s where the commonalities end.' As Fantom remarks in the show notes: 'There is no school. No recurring theme. No common style.' Just good work.
Some of the most noteworthy are the still-life-scrap photos by Delfino Sisto Legnani, the architectural views by Allegra Martin and the crisp, rocky landscapes of Domingo Milella, a photographer who has had noteworthy success in London and New York. 'But no one knows my work in Italy,' Milella said with a shrug. 'It’s sort of crazy.'