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THE BIENNALE

 

My official activity as a photographer started with the Biennale di Venezia of 1954. At that time I did not have any practice and any art. I left from Milan with Mario Dondero without any precise reason other than the willingness to approach this world in a more intriguing way. For this kind of operation the camera is more suitable because when someone has a camera one manages almost anytime to pass and enter everywhere, ...Furthermore there were very few photographers at the Biennale, and those few were requested by the painters that went along with them: everything was led with a certain ingenuity both from them and from us.
In a certain way my attitude at that time was utilitaristic: I used events and people to increase my field of action and also my power. I photographed without any intention of understanding what was happening, and something always happened.

At that time the Biennale had a lot of credit; both me as a photographer, and the artists, and the group of people around them, took the Biennale seriously, in a very genuine way, as it was a big party for all of us: the pleasure to go to Venice, that was not indifferent, the pleasure to meet new people, to see new things, to assist to something very important. My work consisted in trying to give an idea of this party. I lost all the negatives of the Biennale of '56, I left them too much in the water and they melted. But the Biennale of the '58 and in the pictures of that of '60, of '62 and of '64 I have always more specified the festive aspect of staying together, of looking, of showing and performing, that in painters was not without auto-promotional aspects.
I photographed everything: not only those who seemed to me noteworthy or the most important things. Not that I like the willingness of choosing, but I felt that I should not have a criticl's attitude, there was nothing to understand something in particular, there was not to do something but to register.
With the edition of the '64 Biennale reached its top for importance, than began the decline: in the '68, the protest, the police that hit painters, has assumed an indicative value, that of the end.
In a certain way my last picture is that of a painter dragged away by a group of policemen, under the arcades of the Florian cafe, in a heap of helmets and clubs.