LAWRENCE BECK Dialogue with the Past

01/06/2018

From June 1st, The exhibition features eight large-scale photographs by the American artist dedicated to Italian gardens, in a dialogue with the masterpieces of ancient art housed in the palace.

The Ducal Palace in Sassuolo (Modena) opens its doors to international photography.

From 1 June to 2 September 2018, the Ducal Palace will host the exhibition of Lawrence Beck (New York, 1962), entitled Dialogue with The Past.

Curated by Martina Bagnoli, the exhibition features eight large-scale photographs dedicated to Italian gardens, in a dialogue with the masterpieces of ancient art housed in the palace.

For the last five years, Beck has devoted his work to the theme of gardens, representing the culmination of an artistic vision that starts out from the traditional concept of photography as a form of documentary record. In this cycle, Beck focuses on the relationship between man and nature, concentrating on landscapes where some of the most important masterpieces of Italian architecture can be found.

Putting this into practice, the route taken by this exhibition starts out ideally from Villa Pisani at Stra (near Venice), designed by Andrea Palladio, then proceeds via Villa Bardini in Florence, the Royal Villa at Marlia (near Lucca), Villa Lante in Viterbo, home to one of the most celebrated late seventeenth-century mannerist gardens, the eighteenth-century residence of Villa Della Porta Bozzolo on the outskirts of Varese and on to Villa Sorra in Castelfranco Emilia, a significant example of the minor Baroque style espoused in the region of Emilia, before terminating at the Ducal Palace of Sassuolo, with its Baroque façade designed by Bartolomeo Avanzini.

Renowned for his large-scale photographic works, Lawrence Beck has spent years creating lasting images of natural landscapes illuminated with soft, diffused light, using the traditional method of cellulose film to photograph them, which enables him to produce results that are sometimes very different from those achieved with instant digital methods.

Beck’s love affair with nature goes back a very long way, starting with summers spent in the Italian Alps, on the slopes of Monte Rosa. The untamed scenery of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, Alpine meadows, rock formations, rivers and tumbling Alpine streams nourished the first seeds of his art in the artist’s bosom. In a way, Italian gardens and all Beck’s most recent work express the desire to escape from the big city in search of a natural sanctuary. Nevertheless, the nature that Beck ends up meeting often includes a calculated, fictitious staging of the elements. His quest for the untamed open spaces of the Alpine landscapes of his childhood has actually led him into the carefully designed and controlled spaces of Italy’s historical gardens.

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