In conversation with Simone Azzoni, curator and ar...

In conversation with Simone Azzoni, curator and artistic director of the sixth edition of the “Grenze Arsenali Fotografici” festival

The sixth edition of the international photography festival “Grenze Arsenali Fotografici” will open on 7 September in the Veronetta district of Verona. The festival, organized in collaboration with the Department of Culture-Tourism-Entertainment-Relations with UNESCO of the Municipality of Verona and the Pontifical University IUSVE, will continue until 30 October 2023. “Grenze Arsenali Fotografici” will intersect, in its formula, now tested over the years, various events: exhibitions, training courses, laboratories, workshops and collaborations with local and national associations. But let’s know the details with Simone Azzoni, who together with Francesca Marra is the curator and artistic director of the festival.

Charles Traub, Dolce Via Nova, Napoli, 1982, courtesy Grenze Arsenali Fotografici

Antonella Buttazzo: The festival will focus on the theme of Staunen, that is, the “wonder”. How did the choice fall on this topic?
Simone Azzoni: We were interested in finding the origin of a de-structured, powerless and paralyzed gaze from the new, a gaze that children transform into amazement and knowledge. In the iconographic vastness to open a crack, an imbalance, a traumatic but active inconsistency, capable of bringing the visible back to wonder.

Could we therefore see, in the rediscovery of the unexpected and the exploration of photographic experiments, the origin of wonder itself?
Of course, the marvel of the micro and the macro in Caterina Morigi’s photos, but also that of the children forced to re-elaborate a war like those encountered by Monika Bulaj. The astonishment that arises from absence, from mourning as in the images by D’Adddario, and then the amused one that predisposes itself, in the banal, in the everyday to the unexpected, such as for example the shots by Charles Traub.

Francesco Comello, L’isola della salvezza, 2017, courtesy Grenze Arsenali Fotografici

As for the authors: was it difficult to bring them together in the chosen topic?
No, because photography, Ghirri taught us, is a frame that frames a sky that otherwise you wouldn’t have taken into consideration. So even if the topic is difficult, in the end the wonder is in the photography itself as a “long and innocent gaze on the object”.

What’s new in this edition?
A book corner in Porta Vescovo where visitors can find the books offered by LIMOND, Yogurt Magazine, Magazzini fotografici and LazyDog. Meccanico is added to the network of galleries and places participating in the Festival this year: the space in via San Vitale 2 hosts the exhibition of the Greek Petros Efstathiadis with his abnormal toys. Another novelty is the Serre Comunali which host the exhibitions of Isacco Emiliani and Kevin Horan, two projects set up among lemon trees and ornamental plants. Teatro Nuovo in Verona will also participate in the Festival with an exhibition by Enrico Fedrigoli.

Mitar Simikic, Portrait of Mila, 2022, courtesy Grenze Arsenali Fotografici

What do you expect from this new edition of Grenze Arsenali Fotografici?
We want Grenze to continue to be characterized by its real internationality, that is, that the artists are present and available. For example, there will be Traub who will talk about his work on Sunday afternoon, and then Kessels who will meet the public on Friday and then again Yvonne De Rosa to tell her modus operandi in the project “To my mother”, the Serbian director Dusan Milic who on Saturday morning, together with photographers and academics, he will sit around a round table dedicated to the amazement of trauma. We expect that the free of charge of all the proposals and their quality bring Verona back into the photography system. That many young people participate, joining the enthusiasm of the many volunteers. We expect the sixth edition to reconfirm and strengthen the partnerships with other festivals and realities similar to ours, international and local relations. We expect that in Grenze we will finally talk about photography, research, the development of thinking about the image.



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