The opening of the “Beyond the Still Image” exhibit kicks off the third edition of the Photo Vogue Festival 2018, which takes place in the city until Nov. 18.
Mounted across 10 rooms of the Palazzo’s Prince Apartment, the exhibition features a selection of works from Sundsbø including portraits and short movies in a juxtaposition of still and moving images.
“I selected [the works] with great difficulty, it was a long process,” Sundsbø told WWD during a walk-through on Wednesday morning, adding he was helped by the exhibit’s co-curators Michael Van Horne, from the Art+Commerce agency, and Alessia Glaviano, Vogue Italia senior photo editor. “As a person — not as an artist — it feels very special to share something that reflects personal feelings: melancholy, poetry, love, desire, sorrow. All the things that people carry around with themselves,” he said.
“We wanted to show a specific point of view, it wasn’t trying to be like a retrospective and show everything I’ve done. We tried to set the mood, which came primarily from the films. The mood for the stills came from that, so we wanted to have a certain poetic approach rather than a documentary approach. We wanted to have things that could be in the broader land between fashion and art and not necessarily focused on the clothes, on what’s going on today, but to try to find something that mirrored the films, spoke to the films, so that they spoke to each other,” he explained.
The exhibition includes footage from a 2014 short movie called “14 Actors Acting,” which was commissioned by the New York Times, as well as a collaborative effort between Sundsbø, British artist Damien Hirst and the late designer Lee Alexander McQueen.
“People react very differently to all these pieces, some people react to the more matter-of-fact approach in the ‘14 Actors Acting’ for the New York Times, some people react to the parrots film, some react to the room of just fashion films, some people loved the stills. For me it’s a bit like choosing between your babies,” the photographer said when asked about his favorite piece in the exhibition. He added that the contrast between his work and the storied frescoed palazzo “works in a really interesting way.”
During his career, Sundsbø has collaborated with a number of magazines and outlets including several international editions of Vogue, Love and i-D, as well as Nick Knight’s Showstudio.
“The outlets of what we do are changing rapidly, before it was only magazines and posters and maybe a gallery. Now you have the whole advent of not the Internet but the way people are using it, [which] is much more inventive, and I think you have an audience [that] is as big as a magazine in front of you all the time if you want to use it and I think that’s very exciting. To explore that more is very important,” Sundsbø explained, hinting at upcoming projects involving social media.
First debuted in 2016 as a platform to celebrate the art of photography and to offer emerging talents a chance to showcase their portfolios and connect with established figures of the photo industry, the third edition of the Photo Vogue Festival features a program of initiatives and events.
Gucci, through its Gucci beauty division and Instagram account, has partnered with Vogue Italia to bring the “Labs New Artists II” exhibition to Milan’s Base venue, on Via Bergognone. The showcase, organized by Red Hook Labs, a New York- and Los Angeles-based public benefit corporation promoting the arts in public schools and community centers, will gather works from 25 emerging photographers. Among them, Gucci has selected Chase Middleton to reinterpret the Gucci Bloom fragrances with an editorial shoot to be published on Vogue.it.
The same venue — a former locomotive manufacturing plant — will host two collective exhibitions promoted by Vogue Italia: “All That Man Is — Fashion and Masculinity Now,” which explores how manhood has evolved in and thanks to fashion photography, and “Embracing Diversity.”
The latter investigates the notion of inclusivity in the form of different ethnicities, body types, cultures, genders and disability. The 26 photographers taking part in the show were selected through Vogue.it’s Photo Vogue digital scouting platform by a jury that includes Van Horne, Glaviano and Sundsbø, as well as Giorgio Armani, Vogue Italia editor in chief Emanuele Farneti and the magazine’s creative director Giovanni Bianco.
In conjunction with the Photo Vogue Festival, across the street from the Base venue, Armani will host at his Silos exhibiting space the “Italian Panorama” show. Gathering images from a group of 20 young Italian photographers, the display aims to offer a glimpse into some of the most promising artists of fashion photography in the country.
In addition, Base will house photography-related talks for the duration of the festival and, on Nov. 17, a group of emerging photographers, selected by Vogue Italia, will have the chance to show their portfolios to experts in the sector.