“Genesis”, the latest exhibition by Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado has finally come to Naples at PAN, Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli, until January 18th. An incredible, breathtaking journey to some of the most beautiful, most remote, most untouched areas of the world. Thanks to Salgado’s discerning eye and to his incredible mastery of the photographic art, “Genesis” pushes us to adopt new respectful behaviours and protect our planet.
The name of Sebastiao Salgado is very well known to photography lovers throughout the world. Wim Wenders’s recent film “The Salt of the Earth” (2014), a film that I highly recommend even if you’re not a photography enthusiast, has popularized his name and eventually helped consecrate the brazilian photographer as one of the most important documentary photographers in the world. At least three of his many projects, particularly Workers, Migrations and Genesis, are dedicated to a specific theme and to its variation in different parts of the world.
Genesis, for which Salgado has worked from 2004 to 2011, is, in the words of his wife and PAN exhibition’s curator Lélia Wanick Salgado:
a quest for the world as it was, as it was formed, as it evolved, as it existed for millennia before modern life accelerated and began distancing us from the very essence of our being. It is a journey to the landscapes, seascapes, animals and peoples that have so far escaped the long reach of today’s world. And it is testimony that our planet still harbours vast and remote regions where nature reigns in silent and pristine majesty.
More than 200 of Salgado's photographies are currently exhibited at PAN through a thematic itinerary divided into 5 geographical regions that guide the viewer from the cold and harsh climate of the Antarctic area to the astonishing wildlife sanctuaries of Galàpagos and Indonesia until the “Northern Spaces” of the Arctic and Siberia. The two final spaces are dedicated to Africa, a continent very dear to Salgado, and to the humid territories of Amazonia and Pantanal, the photographer’s well-known native places.
I’ve visited “Genesis” exhibition lately and I’ve been impressed by Salgado’s painter-like eye. His photographies, rigorously in black and white, are so powerful and harmonious that seem to have a life of their own. The aesthetic composition of his pictures is flawless. While admiring his work, I could perfectly picture Salgado waiting patiently for the perfect shot, the moment when everything appears to magically align in the right order, when image and meaning meet.
I’ve also appreciated how PAN has managed Salgado’s exhibition: lighting was well adjusted, spaces were essentially arranged and carefully designed to enhance the photographies’ beauty. As a photography lover, I love going to exhibitions because I see them also as inspirational lessons. For this reason, as soon as I knew that “Genesis” was coming to Naples I couldn’t help but be glad for the news. Salgado’s latest work is not only an ode to the beauty of mother earth but also a "call to arms" against our consumerist way of life threatening nature and our own health as well as future.
If you’re in Naples you should definitely go check this extraordinary exhibition at PAN-Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli, for a full immersion in our planet fantastic beauty and in Salgado’s without-parallel work: “Genesis” will make you see our unique world with, literally, different eyes.
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