Paraphrasing Hitchcock, one could say “The Woman Who Lived Twice”. But also three or four: a documented multiplication in the case of Lisetta Carmi, the great photographer who passed away on 5 July at the age of 98. She, daughter of the good Jewish bourgeoisie Lisetta, who was born in Genoa, she studied piano with her and, after the war, she performed in concerts around the world. Then the turn towards photography, which coincides with her political and social commitment. She documented different realities in Italy and abroad, from the world of work to the transsexual communities.
It is called “Suonare forte”, the exhibition that the Gallerie d’Italia dedicated to Lisetta Carmi, the great photographer who died in July on the threshold of her hundred years. Two words both significant for the Genoese artist of Jewish family, who dedicated part of her life to sound, as a skilled pianist. And that, above all, she has always connected to the world of notes, in both an emotional and intellectual sense, even during her second life, the one dedicated to photography. Not surprisingly, she said: “As in music, in my photos there is rhythm, the rhythm of the music that I have studied for thirty-five years”.
But the key word, implicitly exclamation, is precisely that “forte” which is a bit the watchword of an existential adventure conducted anything but quietly or quietly. What she had to say and do, Lisetta has always said and done “strong”.
The only time she stepped aside and succumbed to circumstances was when, still a child, due to racial laws in 1938 she had to drop out of school and take refuge with her family in Switzerland. For the rest, she never yielded either to social expectations or to the comfort of comfortable choices, not to conventions or even to her habit. So much so that he left everything several times, starting, as we said, from his career as a concert performer, to embrace a new passion, born in some way in the wake of political and social commitment, or the will to investigate man and world with an eye fixed on the lens, but also on reality. To denounce, but above all, to tell.
The result is a very diversified work in terms of inspiring themes and motifs, but very coherent in the documentary and, so to speak, militant but also poetic and humanly always empathic look. The same attitude is revealed from shot to shot: whether the shot concerns the grim life of laborers in factories and ports or the forcedly ambiguous but also tender everyday life of transsexuals, the very concrete experience of childbirth or the abstraction of a score musical.
All very well documented by the repertoire visible at the Gallerie d’Italia which, with this exhibition, curated by Giovanni Battista Martini and accompanied by a short film created for the occasion by Alice Rohrwacher, opens the project “The great Italian photography” entrusted to Roberto Koch. The event, among other things, inaugurates the spaces of the Manica Lunga, which from today to January 22 will host 150 photos of Carmi. Shots taken between the Sixties and Seventies and grouped into eight different sections. Like “Women 1962 – 1977”, a gallery of female figures very far from the stereotype and portrayed in different countries: from Israel, India, Morocco and Afghanistan, to our Sicily and Sardinia. “Metropolitan 1965”, on the other hand, tell an intense reportage made in the Paris metro: a life below, which overflows with commuters, unlikely beggars, hurried steps and crooked graffiti.
To underline Lisetta’s never-interrupted relationship with music, thanks to modern directional sound diffusion technologies, in the section “Annalibera Music Notebook” it will be possible to listen to the musical pieces of Luigi Dallapiccola observing the frames that Carmi created, inspired by the music of the Florentine master. In the section dedicated to work, however, it is the music of Luigi Nono to accompany the journey through the photos taken inside the Italsider factory, the same where Nono and the playwright Giuliano Scabia recorded the noises for “The illuminated factory”, dedicated to to the workers of the steel complex. I also shows some Ibense and almost metaphysical portraits of the writer Ezra Pound. @ALL RIGHTS RESERVED