Exhibition archive

Stefano Spinelli | Se nel folto del bosco

07.05 – 11.06.2023

Con l’esposizione di Stefano Spinelli il Museo d’arte Mendrisio inaugura l’ottava stagione di mostre fotografiche negli spazi di Casa Pessina a Ligornetto. Il progetto di Spinelli, intitolato Se nel folto del bosco una voce cercando mi ritrovo, presenta un’accurata selezione di immagini realizzate nell’ambito di un lavoro molto più ampio, iniziato durante il primo lockdown dovuto alla pandemia di coronavirus, quando per Spinelli, così come per molti, il bosco diventa uno spazio di fuga, un luogo selvatico dove ritrovare energia e lucidità di pensiero.
Nelle sue immagini colpisce dapprima l’aspetto formale, la capacità di restituire uno spazio scandito ritmicamente dai tronchi e dai rami degli alberi, dall’alternarsi di piante e arbusti di specie diverse.
Ma la ricerca di Spinelli non è rivolta unicamente alla sublimazione dell’impulso astratto insito in ogni ambiente figurativo: Spinelli pone lo spettatore al centro del bosco e ne amplifica la visione – come suggerisce il loro contorno irregolare, queste immagini risultano infatti dell’unione di più scatti   invitando a osservare il bosco in quanto ecosistema, una società interconnessa che silenziosamente si muove lungo il ciclo della vita.

Stefano Galli | Body and Soul - Jazz Portraits

12.06 - 10.07.2022

From William Gottlieb onward, music photography has assumed a truly important role in the contemporary visual landscape. So, above all, in the field of jazz music: many portraits of musicians, often in black and white, are now part of the collective imagination and have left an indelible mark on the formation of our culture. Stefano Galli (1966) has been photographing the great protagonists of the international jazz scene for almost two decades: in this exhibition, more than 30 splendid images (taken live at major festivals in our region) testify to his great ability to capture the moment and transform the documentary act into an expressive form.

Fabio Tasca | Giuseppe Chietera | Facing Scapes

19.03 - 10.04.2022

Facing Scapes is a "four-handed" project that brings together the work of two different photographers: Fabio Tasca and Giuseppe Chietera . The exhibition, curated by Barbara Paltenghi Malacrida, proposes their respective reflections on the theme of landscape and the relationship with space through an installation that sees the works coexisting in a dialogue of vision, albeit relative to geographically distant places. A contiguity of distance that allows an expressive and lucid comparison between the black and white images of Fabio Tasca and the colour images of Giuseppe Chietera. As Vega Tescari writes in the fine critical essay in the catalogue "The photographed spaces look at each other and dialogue, but at a distance, they are not reflected in each other. They delineate a path that is concrete and physical, but also mental and imaginary. Tasca's black and white and Chietera's colour belong to the same geography, largely indefinable: places that it is the gaze that transforms into views or panoramas. The reference to the view(scape) recalled in the title has an interrogative rather than enunciative character. If it were not for the captions that direct one towards a specific place, it would not be possible to say where one is".

Alek Lindus. Last works

03.10 - 07.11.2021

The activities of Casa Pessina continue in autumn 2021 with a new exhibition proposal, within the framework of the 12th Biennale dell'immagine: the protagonist of the new appointment, the 15th chapter of a season that the Museo d'arte Mendrisio inaugurated 6 years ago for the Ligornetto site, is the photographer Alek Lindus (1965-2021). Trained in the field of art in London and then in Greece, his works are characterised by an aura of subtle precariousness of the image, which on the one hand enhances its deliberately artificial aspect and on the other underlines the vanity and transience of life.

In the series Summer comes slow. Wrapped in gold (2020) the insertion of a thin gold leaf inside the Polaroids alters delicate images of flowers into still lifes crystallised in time;
in Welcome to Paradise (2020) bathers and landscapes of Greece are transformed, with aged and altered colours, into fragments of an apparently distant life;
in When life gives you lemons (2019) Alek Lindus faces and bears witness to the terrible illness he was hostage to in the last years of his life through torsos-portraits converted from positive to negative: symbolic photographs, in which every attribute acquires a semantic and poignant value. An illusory ambiguity, a ferocious drama.

Andrea Basileo. Tutti Frutti

08.05 - 13.06.2021

Casa Pessina too, after the forced closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reopens to the public for the new 2021 season. The protagonist of the first event of the year is the Ligornetto photographer Andrea Basileo, whose project ALL FRUIT is the 14th chapter of a season that the Museo d'arte Mendrisio inaugurated 6 years ago for the Ligornetto location, the space that the city of Mendrisio dedicates to the Ticino photographic scene.

Andrea Basileo's series bears witness to his many years of activity as a monitor for Atgabbes, an association of parents and friends of children with disabilities in Ticino. For several summers, Basileo accompanied the children during their daily activities. His training as a photographer, however, prompted him to want to immortalise and recount this wonderful experience through a series of images. The result is surprising: his photography has the gift of capturing the playful moments as well as the particularities of the individual participants, never lingering on the differences but, on the contrary, enhancing the uniqueness and individual personalities of the children. The outdoor activities as well as the moments of conviviality captured inside take us back to an atmosphere of play and reflection: Basileo's snapshots have the gift of giving us the expressive naturalness of the children who, as the artist himself says, "were, in their sincere openness, what we might consider an excellent example of inclusion".

Piritta Martikainen. Vedelle

15.11 - 13.12.2020

Piritta Martikainen, born in Finland and Swiss by adoption, with her series VEDELLE ("To water") explores through a group of photographs and some videos the various forms of water in the natural context and reflects on the profound relationship that binds her to this element. Born and raised in Finland, a land with over 50,000 lakes on its surface, Martikainen sees water not only as a "hereditary" symbol of her homeland but, above all, as an ideal tool for a wide-ranging investigation into the visible and theinvisible. As Elio Schenini writes in his essay in the catalogue, "Contrary to what might appear at first glance, Piritta Martikainen's works are never simply naturalistic visions. For her, it is not a question of photographically documenting more or less uncontaminated natural landscapes, but rather of finding within these same landscapes the resonance of her own inner life. There is almost always a tension in her images that refers to a dreamlike dimension, or a visual ambiguity that inexorably undermines the apparent immediacy and banality of the shot". The only seemingly hidden object of his artistic research are interior landscapes, memories and human presences: the images, with their great chromatic delicacy, are characterised by an almost constant out-of-focus, revealing the creative mediation of the real vision, captured in both his countries of origin: Finland and Switzerland.

Cosimo Filippini. Rampante

12.09 - 18.10.2020

The protagonist of the first appointment of 2020 is the Luganese photographer and artist Cosimo Filippini: his project, entitled Rampante (Rampant), is the twelfth chapter of a season that the Museo d'arte Mendrisio inaugurated five years ago for the Ligornetto venue, the space that the city of Mendrisio dedicates to the Ticino photographic scene. Cosimo Filippini's project, which is the continuation of an investigation begun in 2010 and dedicated to the landscape, highlights the interpretative and technical versatility of the photographic medium: on the one hand, the images capture an extremely concrete and natural moment of mountain life (the cutting and transportation of trees by helicopter), while on the other they lend themselves to an aesthetic interpretation of the image itself. The trees, without roots, fly through the sky in a decontextualised view that gives them a strong sculptural component and changes their meaning and role. From testimony they become form: no longer trees but images of trees. A photograph that, far from any technical manipulation, invites a poetic, almost surrealist reinterpretation of the surrounding world.

Gian Paolo Minelli. Ex Barrio 26

20.10 - 17.11.2019

The project Former Barrio 26 is the eleventh chapter in a season that the Museo d'arte Mendrisio inaugurated four years ago for the Ligornetto site, which is establishing itself as the Mendrisio space dedicated to Ticino photography. In Western cultures, the city has long been imagined as a space for social and cultural integration. A safe place, protected from the violence of nature and man. Barrio 26 (neighbourhood 26) was a precarious settlement built on the banks of the Riachuelo river in Buenos Aires 50 years ago, a highly polluted, dead river. The inhabitants, some 160 families, were moved from their precarious homes to another neighbourhood for health reasons. Today the neighbourhood no longer exists, it has been destroyed. The project focuses with great sensitivity on the contradictions of the urban planning parameters and the dramatic consequences from a human point of view.

Giovanni Luisoni. Synthesis

07.09 - 29.09.2019

The exhibition aims to retrace Giovanni Luisoni's career and, at the same time, to emphasise his role as an interpreter of his own region, the Mendrisiotto. Through the choice of twenty images, all rigorously in black and white, the exhibition at Casa Pessina concentrates a coherent compendium of what has been published in the volume Il risveglio del dimenticato. The exhibition project is configured as a selection of content, a Synthesis in fact, of the artistic path and thematic interests pursued by Luisoni in his last thirty years of activity and well documented in the book, with particular attention to the landscape and its changes, in a series of images that, in turn, transform our perception of time. Suspended photographs, glimpses that seem universal. A fitting tribute to one of the main witnesses of the rural, social and urban reality of the Mendrisiotto, a committed and up-to-date gaze, albeit free from the canons of the most current contemporary expressions.

Roberto Mucchiut. One year from now, light

05.05 - 02.06.2019

Roberto Mucchiut's work is the evolution of a research path that began about ten years ago with a photographic project. The theme of Nature and the subjectivity of Time are therefore central to his research: the social implications of an increasingly difficult relationship with our future, the continuous discoveries of neuroscience and quantum physics have led the artist to reflect on the very existence of time, the protagonist of today's project. In a year's time, Light addresses the key question: does time no longer exist? The artistic project explores the theme by considering the world as a sequence of "events", "happenings", "processes", using the languages of photography and, for the first time in the context of Casa Pessina, those of video art and digital media art, which allows the essence of time itself to be manipulated in real time and interactively. The works in the exhibition include a series of photographs on paper (digital video scans); a video diptych (characterised by a synchronised interval), an interactive video installation (with temporal scanning of space and images generated in real time) and an environmental soundtrack.

Simon Brazzola. Sea-city

23.09 - 28.10.2018

Simon Brazzola's work revolves around an ambivalent vision: the landscape as the starting point of a rarefied and distant vision, which lends itself to different interpretations on the basis of an optical alteration effect that can only be perceived when comparing the two chosen print sizes, which form the basis of the exhibition concept. Indeed, the large and small formats reveal a duplicity of sensory perception that these images provoke in the viewer. In the smaller works, the landscape appears as an evocative marina, the low horizon dominated by an enormous mass of clouds. The colours are blurred, the contours soften in a rendering that is particularly pictorial (in the romantic-landscape sense of the term). In the large size, however, thanks to the revelation of precious details totally hidden to the eye in the smaller format, one immediately realises the illusion perceived previously: these are not waves with foam reflections but houses, buildings, cities. Not Sea but City, paraphrasing the title of the exhibition, which allows for an interesting play on words: the English word "Sea" is pronounced like "See".

Tommaso Donati. Teresa

29.04 - 10.06.2018

Tommaso Donati's work often starts from a fascination, or rather from an instinctive drive towards a place: at first a neighbourhood or an architecture, then a story. Donati's periphery, the one that drives him to open a door, to look for something inside, is a periphery in the classical sense, a place ofliving, a place of the margins. The building that Donati crosses the threshold of is known as the "Pregassona skyscraper": built in 1962, it is part of an international social housing movement. Teresa, the protagonist of this series of photographs, is the caretaker of the building, where she has lived for 18 years. Donati enters the caretaker's home and tells her story, not through her work but through the person, the body and the place where she lives, the flat where Teresa spends her days. In his photographs, Donati incorporates the woman's personal references without making them explicit, trying instead to strip each shot of all its particular elements. The result is a straightforward, true work that is part of the panorama of photography that is "necessary" because it tells us something about ourselves.

Daniela Droz. Parhélie

08.10 - 12.11.2017

In keeping with the theme of the biennial Borderlines. Different Cities / Plural Cities Daniela Droz presents a series of photographs that form the basis of the project A House for E.D., a section of which, Parhélie, is presented at Casa Pessina. The acronym "E.D." stands for Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), an American writer today recognised as one of the greatest poets of modernity, who from 1866 chose to live within the walls of her own room. With this project Daniela Droz explores the concept of perception of objects and space from the perspective of altering them in a state of isolation and solitude, presenting 6 "windows" in the exhibition. The artist, through a work done in the studio of reinterpretation of the light filtered by the windows, has created a series of images that are imaginary reconstructions with the use of several lights at the same time in opposition to the natural reality of a single source of light, that of the sun.

Nelly Rodriguez. Islands

13.05 - 25.06.2017

Fascinated by the hermits' simple way of life and immersed in nature, and attracted by the desire to learn about their lives, Nelly Rodriguez set out in search of them. This led to the photographic series Islands. Casa Pessina will present a selection of images dedicated to two of the hermits Rodriguez has met over the years: Gino, who lived in the Malvaglia Valley, and Paul, who lives in the Onsernone Valley. Rodriguez evokes the lives of these people and introduces them to us through shots that exude serenity and inner calm. Through a few but emblematic clues, the photographer alludes to the passage of a human being among these isolated mountains and through the places and objects familiar to them she illustrates their way of life. In this series of images, however, places and objects are not simply attributes of the two men or mere documents of their Spartan life: they are presented as integral parts of their lives. By alluding to the impossibility of capturing the essence of a subject, these shots thus help to reaffirm and preserve the mystery of the two hermits.

Anna Meschiari. A for Archipelago

22.01 - 05.03.2017

A come Arcipelago is a project made up of 14 images taken from Anna Meschiari's personal archives: the choice of each individual work, taken in different places and at different times, therefore has very personal references, to compose a multiple and multifaceted whole. At the heart of the idea is, first and foremost, the search for an intimate path, apparently without a clear guiding thread other than recreating mental links that, in an overall view, qualify as part of a whole. As Giovanni Medolago writes in the critical text in the catalogue "there is no doubt, however, that Anna takes the liberty of immortalising everything that manages to arouse her interest, and is also free to choose the technique that seems most suitable to her (...). An exhibition that is therefore a journey, perhaps even a mental journey, through her archives (there are photos that she took several years ago, well before graduating in Photography from the Schools of Applied Arts in Vevey and Berlin), conceived following the procedure that the young photographer has recently embraced and which tends towards conceptual photography: assembling images taken here and there, then using them to finally create something new that did not exist before. On this occasion, of course, all the photos gathered at Casa Pessina are signed by her, so we are looking for a possible summary of her work".

Simone Mengani. Hidden collections

18.09 - 23.10.2016

The theme presented by the artist focuses on revealing some little-known places that are not usually accessible to the general public: the storerooms of art and science museums. With his camera, Mengani enters the places where the collections of some of Ticino's museums are kept and preserved, in particular Casa Pessina, Museo Vela, Museo d'arte Mendrisio, Museo Civico Villa dei Cedri and the Cantonal Museum of Natural History. The photographic series brings together images of paintings, statues and stuffed animals, whose common denominator is that they are not in an exhibition hall, but in a warehouse, a place where the objects are preserved, catalogued and studied, and are therefore accessible only to those in the know. An opportunity to reflect on museum collections on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Swiss Museums Association.

Flavia Leuenberger. A Ticino in stars and stripes. Portraits of Ticinese emigrants in the USA

21.02 - 03.04.2016

Flavia Leuenberger, a young photographer from Balerna, was struck and fascinated by the letters of Ticinese emigrants in California published by Giorgio Cheda in the 1980s, and decided to leave for the United States in search of these traces of our past. And so, on two occasions (2013 and 2015) she went overseas, where she built up a network of contacts that became increasingly dense, allowing her to find the descendants of Ticinese emigrants between the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. In the pictures on display at Casa Pessina, one can see how details reminiscent of Switzerland are combined with typical elements of the American landscape and furniture. The images not only offer a testimony to the migration phenomenon that affected the Canton between the mid-19th and the early 20th century, but also reveal how deep the memory that still binds these families to Ticino is.

Reto Albertalli. Glimpses of Kabul

20.09 - 25.10.2015

The images on display were taken between 2011 and 2012, when Albertalli was in Afghanistan teaching photography at the Afghan Mini Mobile Circus for Children, a circus and multimedia activities school based in Kabul. As well as teaching, Albertalli had the opportunity to come into contact with a group of girls, capturing them bare-faced and in close-up. The sequence of their gazes is interspersed with black and white images of men armed with Kalashnikovs, women whose freedom has been denied, half-destroyed city walls and views of the war-torn, poverty-stricken capital: what emerges is a contrast between a society devastated by the conflict, dominated by a rigid traditional code, and the need for freedom expressed by these portraits of girls.