A FLASH OF LIGHT: The retrospective on Paolo Roversi’s body of work at the MAR art museum in Ravenna, the Italian photographer’s hometown best known for the Byzantine mosaics that adorn many of its buildings, has been postponed to October in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally slated to bow in April, the showcase will now run from Oct. 10 to Jan. 10, 2021. Titled “Paolo Roversi — Studio Luce,” in a nod to the photographer’s atelier on Paris’ Rue Paul-Fort, the show is sponsored by Dior, Pirelli and Place Vendôme jeweler Dauphin.
Spanning three floors, the retrospective will celebrate the work of the photographer through a diverse selection of images, starting from Roversi’s first portraits of friends and fellow photographers Robert Frank and Peter Lindbergh. These will be flanked by still-life images of stools from the streets as well as shots of the Deardorff camera that Roversi has used throughout his career.
Curated by Chiara Bardelli Nonino with sets designed by Jean-Hugues de Chatillon, the exhibition will also display unpublished images collected by Roversi throughout decades of working for brands such as Dior and Comme des Garçons, as well as for publications including Vogue Italia.
Marking the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, a range of pictures of Naomi Campbell, Monica Bellucci, Natalia Vodianova, Kate Moss and Rihanna seen through the photographer’s signature sepia-toned filter will pay homage to the role played by muses in conceiving artworks.
A selection of images from his latest editorial work and from the 2020 Pirelli calendar will complete the exhibit, which will coincide with the publication of an eponymous tome. Roversi’s arty technique was in full display in the Pirelli 2020 calendar, for which he reinterpreted Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” and created the concept of “Looking for Juliet” merging photography and, for the first time, film.
Born in Ravenna in 1947, Roversi moved to Paris in the Seventies, working in his “Studio Luce” ever since. The name of the studio references the photographer’s fascination with lighting, which has forged his unique style that combines realism and illusion and has defined his cinematic and misty body of work.
Most recently, Roversi trained his photographic skills on director Charlotte Dauphin de La Rochefoucald’s debut movie titled “The Other [L’Autre in French].” Centered on the grieving experience of a young ballet dancer from the Paris Opéra who decides to retire after the sudden death of her father, the movie took home the prize for best performance by an actress in a leading role bestowed upon Astrid Bergès-Frisbey at the 2020 edition of the Taormina Film Fest, which closed in the Italian seaside resort on July 19.