MIA Photo Fair

© MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma
© MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma

An artistic handshake between Iran and Israel closes the 13th edition.

An “artistic handshake” for peace. At MIA Photo Fair, the international art event dedicated to photography in Italy, artists Michael Ackerman (Israel) and Ramak Fazel (Iran) decided to exchange their artworks, exhibited respectively in Spot Home Gallery and Viasaterna Gallery, in the “Across the Mediterranean” section curated by Rischa Paterlini. Thus concluded the thirteenth edition of MIA Photo Fair, which took place at the Allianz MiCo in Milan, from April 11th to 14th, with a message of peace and hope. Excellence Magazine was proud to be a media partner for the event.

© MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma
© MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma

The artistic performance was initiated at the request of the artists and their respective galleries, who, in agreement with MIA Photo Fair and Fiere di Parma, decided to tear down the wall separating their booths to send a message of peace, hope, and coexistence, expressing solidarity and closeness to both the Iranian and Israeli populations. Fazel, present at MIA, upon hearing the news of the Iran attack late Saturday night, immediately called his friend Michael, agreeing to dismantle the wall separating their booths and exchange their respective artworks, in a symbolic handshake of friendship.

MIA Photo Fair featured 100 exhibitors, 270 artists, 8 special exhibitions and projects, 4 awards, and 70 galleries from Italy and abroad, with significant new entries of galleries from various countries such as the United States, Iran, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland. Of particular interest and prestige was the return of important Italian and foreign galleries that chose the fair as a privileged hub of attraction for collectors.

from left: Filippa Lagerback and Bettina Zagnoli, © MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma

A fair with youthful content, rich in discoveries, featuring artists and galleries rarely seen outside their countries, the result of the curatorial work of Rischa Paterlini, Domenico de Chirico, Marialuisa Pastò, and Emanuela Mazzonis. The fair showcased established international galleries alongside emerging young talents, many of whom were exhibiting in Italy for the first time. Collectors and enthusiasts confirmed their passion and the great potential of photography as an art form, as evidenced by the excellent sales reported by gallery owners, both for young artists and for mid-career and historical photographers.

Artistic Director Francesca Malgara, in her first edition, expressed satisfaction “for giving exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their potential through interesting and curated projects, both in the selection of works and in their exhibition layout.”

from left: Luca Barbareschi and Francesca Malgara, © MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma

Changing, the common thread of this edition, focused on the major themes of contemporaneity, showcased not only in the Main Section but also in the three special sections of MIA Photo Fair: Across the Mediterranean (curated by Rischa Paterlini), Beyond Photography – Dialogue (curated by Domenico De Chirico), and Reportage beyond Reportage (curated by Emanuela Mazzonis di Pralafera).

The highlight of MIA was the exhibition “The frame of relationships” curated by Rica Cerbarano, a unique selection of over 50 works from the most important private collections in Italy, celebrating the relational power of photography. Meanwhile, the exhibitions of the Award “Welcome to my Unknown” by Erik Kessels, with two collateral awards given to Angelo Formato and Sofiya Chotyrbok, and the Award “Irinox Save the Food” curated by Claudio Composti, brought to the forefront respectively the talents of young artists under 35 and personal reflections on the theme of food as a resource, common good, desire, towards greater awareness of food waste.

The fair was enriched by a new talk program curated by journalist and writer Michele Smargiassi. A series of discussions aimed to broaden the fair’s audience, reflecting on the ongoing transformations in the world of photography. The cultural program featured a range of meetings with protagonists of photography, including Anne de Carbuccia, photographer, director, and activist, and artist Emeric Lhuisset, focusing on his work “From far away, I hear the Cossacks.” Additionally, the results of the video investigation “La foto è MIA” (The photo is MIA), produced by MIA Photo Fair with interviews from two classes, one from the Liceo Artistico Toschi in Parma and the other from the Liceo Artistico Statale Boccioni in Milan, were presented.

© MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma

During the 4 days of MIA, Johanna-Maria Fritz won the BNL BNP Paribas Award with her diptych “Gaza”, presented by the Artco Gallery of Berlin. This is a tangible recognition given by the Bank to the best among the 15 artists, from Italy and around the world, who presented their works through art galleries. The winning piece will be purchased and become part of the BNL BNP Paribas art collection, which comprises approximately 6,000 masterpieces.

Fakhri El Ghezal, with his artwork “To Redeyef” exhibited at A.Gorgi Gallery in Tunis, featured in the section “Across the Mediterranean,” has won the miramART award from the non-profit cultural association founded by the Grand Hotel Miramare, aimed at supporting contemporary art. The artwork will be displayed in the miramART collection at the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita Ligure, with the hope that it will contribute to promoting an open dialogue between different cultures and lands.

In the spirit of peace, the Irinox – Save The Food Award was also granted to the Russian artist Alexandr Yegorov for the photograph “Welcome to yesterday.” A special mention was given to Simone Matti for the series “Sembra poco” (2023). Yegorov’s photograph will be acquired by Irinox and become part of the company’s Corporate Art Collection. The photograph will also be showcased in a solo exhibition organized during the Yeast Photo Festival in Matino (Lecce), thanks to the partnership with Fiere di Parma. The exhibition, curated by Claudio Composti and with the sponsorship of the Municipality of Parma, will also be hosted at the Open Laboratory of the San Paolo Complex in Parma from May 7th to May 19th as part of Cibus Off, the main event in Italy dedicated to the theme of food.

BDC-Bonanni Del Rio Catalog (an acronym for the collector couple Lucia Bonanni and Mauro Del Rio) in its third edition of the “La Nuova Scelta Italiana” award has concluded the acquisition of the works of the two winners: Paolo Pellegrin and Silvio Wolf.

from left: Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala and Chiara Bazoli, © MIA Photo Fair – Fiere di Parma
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