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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (9)     +     OPENINGS (7)     +     DEADLINES (3)     +     CLOSINGS (12)
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Piero Martinello, Nun Maria Paola, Patrina (Arezzo), from the chapter Contemplation, in Radicalia, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Piero Martinello

May 1 – June 17, 2018
Opening Tuesday May 1, 7pm
Artist Talk, May 1, 6pm
Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St W
A Primary Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Piero Martinello travelled across his home country of Italy in search of “outsider” men and women who embrace radical choices. The resulting project, Radicalia, comprises five sections that each connote a different kind of radical—including nuns, criminals, ravers, saints, and town fools—captured through portraits in a range of photographic formats, including vernacular images and those he has taken himself. For the Toronto iteration of his project, Martinello has worked with the historical context of Campbell House, interspersing the photographs among its period decor. His intervention introduces a most unlikely gathering of characters into a domestic space that, in reality, none of them would ever otherwise enter.

Each of the themes, or “chapters,” in Radicalia focuses on a different group of individuals captured in distinct modes of documentation. “Deviation” refers to those historically known as “town fools,” each of whom Martinello encountered in various small Italian towns or villages and photographed in traditional portrait format. Every “fool” stands apart in some way through their own volition, and with the support of their respective community who embraces their eccentricities as an essential part of the whole. Religious extremity is addressed in two chapters: “Devotion,” otherwise referred to as the saints and blesseds, which gathers vernacular images of deeply religious men and women across history who have become venerated saints; and “Contemplation,” which documents cloistered nuns currently living in convents across Italy, using images derived from the nuns’ passport photographs. “Eversion” portrays members of the Italian Mafia in collections of portraits organized by clan in a style known as “triumph photography”—a form of photo-collage traditionally used to identify and demonstrate the organization and connection within specific criminal groups. Lastly, “Evasion” captures anonymous participants at raves, parades, and festivals. These expressive images show their subjects caught in the midst of their revelations, in moments of interior ecstasy, capturing the full expression of the notion “to rave”: to be delirious, incoherent, and deeply enthused.

These various forms of individual existence, encompassing a wide range of contemporary and historical lives, come together under an unexpected collective umbrella in Radicalia. For his installations, Martinello places the portraits in ornate antique frames; in the Campbell House intervention, he has mounted them on walls in multiple rooms throughout the former home, particularly those designated for guests—the sitting room, dining room, and ballroom—replacing the period prints and portraits that would normally occupy its walls.

Piero Martinello lives and works between Milan and Venice. As a portrait photographer his clients include celebrities, writers, radical party leaders and musicians. His editorial and commercial work has been featured in numerous publications including Harpers Bazaar, Walrus, GQ, and United Colors of Benetton. Radicalia has been exhibited at Le Dictateur Gallery, Milan, Italy; DocField Festival, Barcelona, Spain; Foto-Forum Gallery, Bozen, Italy; Les Rencontres d’Arles, France; Espace Images, Vevey, Switzerland; Fabbrica Saccardo, Schio, Vicenza.

Organized by CONTACT in partnership with Campbell House Museum

Supported by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto

Read more about this exhibition and others at the CONTACT website.


Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 205
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2J4
T 416 539 9595
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CONTACT fosters and celebrates the art and profession of photography with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery.

CONTACT, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997, is generously supported by Scotiabank, Nikon Canada, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, Vistek, Dentons Canada LLP, Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, Transcontinental PLM, 3M Canada, BIG Digital, Waddington's Auctioneers and Appraisers, Four By Eight Signs, Beyond Digital Imaging, Steam Whistle Brewing, Art Toronto, The Gladstone Hotel, First Gulf, Colliers International, The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, CBC Toronto, and Canadian Art.

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the support of Celebrate Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Ontario, Partners in Art, Canada Council for the Arts, Consulate General of the United States, the Howard Webster Foundation, Mondriaan Fund, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Goethe-Institut, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and all of our funders, donors, and programming partners.





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