Published on Monday, July 25th, 2011.
"More than a fashion photographer, I feel like an historical photographer." These are the words pronounced by Bob Krieger, before the art works making part of the great anthology dedicated to him at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. He is very proud of his work: "Itís been an intense eight months of work without a day of rest. And there have been unforeseen events: a few days prior to the opening of the event the agreement for the construction has been denied, that was a real tragedy. Then we found right here, at the Palazzo Reale, the neoclassical perfect backdrop, as if it was made for my show. A sign of destiny. " A destiny in which Krieger strongly believes: "The exhibition, coincidentally, was inaugurated on the birthday of my aunt Nelly, who is the person who encouraged me to follow the path of photography." The first portrait of a young Bob, taken in 1963 aged 28 when he was still in Alexandria, where Krieger was born (1936) and where he grew up, it's really his, exhibited in the first room opening the exhibition. At the front, a sort of "wall of origins "in which we find the paintings belonging to his great-grandfather Giuseppe Cammarano, one of the great painters of the Neapolitan school, who helped build the palace of Caserta, and among them, the first work in mixed media created by Krieger, About joys and sorrows, a nude imprisoned in a wire mesh from which joints arise gold and the colour of blood. "A work born from the encounter with someone special, who changed my life," the artist explains, "an intense love affair that lasts to this day. With this work I wanted to express how I felt, imprisoned by an overwhelming force, as much as in a painful light. At the right bottom, a key: a symbol of freedom with which I give an interpretation to the audience. "As one can tell from the first hall, the one running at Palazzo Reale is not an anthology following the chain of events, but rather those of the heart.
The portraits, the paintings and the fashion shots are Bob Krieger Ďs great family, whose members, talking to each other in a display of affection, tell us about an era. Going on into the exhibition, we read the history of fashion, interwoven with that of Italy: from a Valentino couture show in 1974 to the first shooting on slide by Armani in 1982, from the portrait of Gianni Agnelli to that of Anita Garibaldi, in front of which stands, as big as the sun, the eye of Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. A tribute to Italy, a country in which Bob Krieger believes a lot: "Art flows naturally in Italian bloods, it belongs to them. Morally, we arenít better or worse than others, we should just stop saying that in Italy things do not work as an excuse for doing nothing. " The Italy represented by Krieger is a country to be proud of: to the great portraits of famous international personalities like Bill Gates or the pianist Lang Lang is added a whole room of Italian faces, from Carla Fracci to Giorgio Gaber through Dacia Maraini and Vasco Rossi. All turned into stamps, as the title Prioritaire suggests it.
And almost everyone with their hands in the foreground, a poetic detail representing the fundamental expression of the artist. An attention to detail to be translated with the love for photographic technique: "The photography one is a craft that doesnít exist anymore today. Before, every shot had a cost, and this made it essential to the mastery of technique and a sense of responsibility that, as in all things, got to be lost as the reproducibility became a free tool. The autofocus has been the plight of aspiring photographers. " From this the desire to experiment with techniques that help making unique works. Just like the golden print of the Profilo or Lotus nudes (Krieger jokes: "A friend tells me while seeing them," can give me her phone number? " And I said" sure, but you must make a promise: call her for real. "Today, the model should be over seventy years old, it will certainly be a pleasure to receive a call from an admirer ... ").
In addition to the technicality, immortality is sought in homages to the great models of the past: Canova, Rodin, Klimt to cite but a few beloved and present in the exhibition, such as in the famous images of model Veruschka, portrayed as a Greek goddess, but also in the 2011 portraits Gabriella, Umberta and Sandra. Mythology is also present in many of the more recent works that combine photography with the subject of color, a combination of elements that seem to reflect Kriegerís complex mood: even him as his Diver, remains still yet he captures the action and oozing gold and silver, he gives immortality to his subjects.
curated by giulia masperi
From June 10th to September 11th, 2011
Bob Krieger. Memories between photography and art
Piazza Duomo 12, Milan
Opening Hours: Mondays 14.30 - 19.30 /Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays 9.30-19.30 / Thursdays and Saturdays 9.30 - 22.30
Info: www.comune.milano.it/palazzo reale
Catalogue: Leonardo International
Exhibition promoted by the maire of Milan / Culture / Palazzo Reale
in collaboration with Habitare
approved by Regione Lombardia, Provincia di Milano
*first photograph from above: Bob Krieger, Delle gioe e delle pene-130x130 ©Bob Krieger