The memory of nature, “Breath” by Francesco Pennis...

The memory of nature, “Breath” by Francesco Pennisi

From Saturday 25th March, at the exhibition space of Palazzo Scammacca in Catania – a mighty load-bearing masonry building in lava stone and solid brick appeals from the 17th century – in the heart of the historic center of the city, between Piazza Duomo, piazza Università and the theater Massimo Bellini, the exhibition “Respiro” by Francesco Pennisi opened to the public; an inauguration that was a double appointment between photography and publishing, since the opening was held together with the presentation of the paper publication of the very same exhibited project. Exhibition and publication are curated by Carmelo Stompo, for 2LAB, a local archive born in 2013 from an idea of ​​Stompo himself, who is its artistic director, conceived as a huge box inside which exchange, sharing, creativity and originality coexist.

Francesco Pennisi, Respiro, 2021. Giclée print, 100 x 150 cm. Courtesy the artist

In Francesco Pennisi, a photographer from Catania, born in 1952, the passion for photography was born at a very young age, when he received his first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, as a gift from his father, key moment in which he began his self-taught adventure. For a period, thanks also to his work as manager at the Etna Park, he will focus on naturalistic and landscape photography, from which various publications will emerge. In the latest years, however, his photographic research has moved beyond the evidence of representation. Starting from this thinking, still concerning the naturalistic theme, his investigation falls back into lights and shadows’ games, on details and abstractions, since, according to Pennisi, photography cannot be considered an absolute language, rather a tool that goes beyond the represented, thus capable of capturing emotions.

Fancesco Pennisi, Respiro, 2008. Giclée print, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy the artist

In the project in Catania, Pennisi exhibits a clear homage to his homeland, to his adolescence spent within the Etna woods and to the memories linked to his mother, although also nature and the memories of the house on the mountain are key elements of his grammar. The author, through his gaze, leads into a world where time seems to pass slowly, if not even to stop, and where the light gradually reveals itself. Shots, whose depth seem to give us short and concise poems, capable with their intensity and intimacy of transmitting the very essence of nature and time, understood, the latter, as a memory and trace of the past. Pennisi’s nature is concrete: light, an essential component, does not reveal itself immediately in its form, but it gradually discovers itself. So, in the same place, visited several times, one has the opportunity to discover and find what in the previous experience one had only intuited or glimpsed; while walking memories, recollections and bonds can emerge or re-emerge, above all thanks to the silence and to sounds of nature.

Francesco Pennisi, Respiro, 2015. Giclée print, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy the artist

In the editorial project of the exhibition, the photographic book, there are images capable of capturing the beauty and majesty of the trees and of Etna, which have always been symbols of the city of Catania, but also of nature’s strength and beauty of nature.

Mery Scalisi


Francesco Pennisi, Respiro
curated by Carmelo Stompo
25/03/2023 – 23/04/2023
Palazzo Scammacca
Piazza Scammacca 1, Catania



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