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Face. Soul of the body

From November 12th 2022 to January 22nd 2023 (EXTENDED TO 5th FEBRUARY)

A great photographic exhibition

From November 12th 2022 to January 22nd 2023 Palazzo Ferrero and Palazzo Gromo Losa will host the photo exhibition Face. Soul of the body by Irene Finiguerra and Fabrizio Lava.

The exhibition, which was born from a project of the StileLibero Association in collaboration with BI-BOx Art Space and Palazzo Ferrero Miscele Culturali, through a selection of shots by great photographers of national and international fame, questions the value that the portrait has in an era like ours of prevailing narcissism and where the selfie is the continuous, obsessive and a daily narration of the self and where there is no longer a gap between private and public.

With the advent of photography, the portrait has been unhinged from its high symbolic value: the subject is no longer just the prince or sovereign dressed up in a certain way and surrounded by objects that tell of his power. Since the very beginning, photography starts a process of democratization that allows almost everyone to send the portrait of the self (for example the migrant in America to the beloved), to compose the entire patriarchal family in front of a painted backdrop, to portray groups in conferences or happy meetings.

The status symbol of the painted portrait is transformed into a much more agile and portable object - the photograph is framed and displayed on an important piece of furniture in the living room, hiding between the pages of a book, mixing with the documents in the wallet.

A selection of the greatest portrait photographers of the twentieth century

The exhibition is divided into three main topics: the portrait, the self-portrait and the selfie.

The section dedicated to the portrait brings together a selection of the most significant names in the world of photography who have immortalized icons of costume and society from the 1980’s until today - including the celebrities of the images of Wowe, pseudonym of Wolfgang Wesener, of which portraits of famous artists are displayed such as Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Kippenberg and Keith Harring, the "stolen" portraits of Ron Galella, the American version of the paparazzi of the Roman "Dolce Vita" that immortalized David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Jackie Kennedy; as well as the shots recently rediscovered by Maria Vittoria Baravelli of Marisa Rastellini, a Roman photographer who worked for Grazia and Epoca in the 1960s and who photographed the great intellectuals of Italy with a deep gaze such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg and the world of Cinecittà with Virna Lisi, Monica Vitti, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini.

Also on display are the fashion portraits of Piero Gemelli, the women's photographer par excellence, whom he photographs as “bodily architectures”. His photography recounted the ideal of beauty and fashion of the 1990s, transforming women endowed with beauty, sometimes outside the traditional canons, such as Carla Bruni and Monica Bellucci, into true icons.

Moreover, the shots of the Neapolitan photographer Luciano Romano taken for the photographic exhibition recently set up at the Pio Monte della Misericordia, in the heart of Naples, in dialogue with the work of Caravaggio The Seven Works of Mercy and the paintings of Luca Giordano, Francesco Guarino, Jusepe de Ribera and Guido Reni. Although they have been extrapolated from their place of origin and symbiosis with the space for which they were designed, Romano's photographs with an admittedly theatrical language convey bewilderment, fear, sensuality, pain and compassion on the faces of the protagonists.

Also on display are the photographs of Silvia Lelli and Roberto Masotti, music photographers who have dedicated their work to portraying this world with great passion. From Keith Jarrett and John Cage to Franco Battiato, the great conductors, the world of theater and jazz musicians.

Italo Martinero, Untitled (from the album Greece Yugoslavia Bulgaria), mid-20th century
© Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation
Pietro Baroni, Carlotta Vagnoli

The contemporary photographic portrait

Passing from the 80s and 90s to today's idea of ​​portrait, Pietro Baroni could not miss, who with his shots taken in the studio, where the posing subject weaves a trusting relationship with the photographer, the portrait returns to have a similar function to the pictorial portrait. On display are the shots dedicated to today's creatives: Francesco Costa, Carlotta Vagnoli, Ema Stokholma, Omar Hassan, Valerio Lundin.

And again on display Gigi Piana who with the work Ricerca d’identità (6161_seiunoseiuna) addresses one of the most ancient reflections of man in the definition of his ego, the male and female component which together constitutes the essence, the deep root and ever struggling part of our being; and Matteo Montaldo who, with his portraits, instead tackles another delicate and topical issue, immigration. On display portraits of migrants, standing against a neutral background, decontextualized. Men and women traveling alone or families with boys and girls. Portraits that tell stories, looks, gestures. Mario Daniele in his work shares a reversal of perspective that takes us behind the portrayed subject to investigate that part of the body often hidden by the hair or the collar of the shirts - and Paolo Passarelli who instead uses old photographs purchased in markets. He digitizes the photos from which he obtains a close-up of the face which he prints on drawing paper and from here he begins his intervention with a gold pencil, clear and incisive in the background, with a lighter hatching on the face, as if to create a veil. Gold expresses the value, the desire to magnify the single story of which that face is the bearer, and diffuses a soft light that creates a common thread between many different individual stories.

A space dedicated to the portraits of the photographers of Biella

Finally, a special space is dedicated to Biella’s historical photography thanks to the collaboration with the Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation which has been acquiring, conserving and enhancing the archives of these precious witnesses of the territory for decades. The shots of Giancarlo Terreo (1938-2006) will be on display, with a selection of his "street" portraits taken during his travels in Europe, with particular attention to the Balkan peoples, and trips out of town in the Biellese (especially in Valle Elvo) and shots dedicated to famous people met at events and shows around Italy, and by Italo Martinero (1912-1993), with a selection of photographic prints elaborated with the most varied analogue post-production techniques, some with hand-painted details, and with very modern outcomes for the time. In addition, a selection of photographs from three collections from the Sella Foundation archives will be exhibited: Studio Rossetti, Federico Maggia and Sergio Ferrarotti.

Giancarlo Terreo, Bagneri, 1968 © Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella
Sergio Ferrarotti, Ritratti, 1978 ca.

Self-portrait and selfie

Moving on to the self-portrait, the images of the Chinese artist Ziqian Liu are displayed, who in his aesthetic research devotes himself exclusively to self-portrait. The artist is a refined and ethereal model who never reveals all of herself, her face, her body, but highlights parts of them to externalize her emotions and uses self-portraits to investigate the coexistence between human beings and nature. The balance achieved in her images alludes to an equality and symbiosis between the latter - she fights for a condition of harmony and beauty to reinforce this idea.

The last section of the exhibition is dedicated to the contemporary portrait, the selfie, the visitor will find along the exhibition path two boxes for the creation of selfies that can be published on social media or printed, thus gradually and individually they become a piece of the exhibition.

Self-portrait and selfie

The exhibition also continues outside the historic buildings of Biella Piazzo with two Off Paths. Visitors will be able to discover Michelangelo Pistoletto's self-portraits at Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto. Here the mirror is the third dimension that offers depth to the individual and projects him into a static but also dynamic time. The viewer who stands in front of the self-portrait becomes a new unwitting protagonist of the scene that takes place and becomes the active protagonist of the work.

From December 17th, 2022 to January 22nd, 2023 at the Spazio Cultura of the Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation in Via Garibaldi it will be possible to visit the exhibition Vedersi a colori, which will present the works created by the students of the Biella section of AIAS (Italian Association for Spastic Assistance) during Art therapy meetings, thanks to which, starting from the photographic prints that portrayed them, the children found a safe place where to express themselves and share their emotions. In January there will also be talks with professional photographers, scholars and personalities from the world of contemporary photography.

Exhibition “Vedersi a colori”

Info and Timetables

From December 17th, 2022 to January 22nd, 2023 (EXTENDED TO 5th FEBRUARY)
Palazzo Ferrero: Corso del Piazzo 25, 13900 Biella e Palazzo Gromo Losa: Corso del Piazzo 24, 13900 Biella

The exhibition is organized with the support of the Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and the Cassa di Risparmio di Torino Foundation.

Every open day of the exhibition it will also be possible to visit the garden and the Plaç multimedia installation for free. The stories of the Piazzo, dedicated to the historic village of Biella.


Full 8,00 €
Reduced 5,00 €

Create your visit to the Biellese

Not only to the village of Piazzo

A visit to the exhibition is the ideal opportunity for a weekend to discover our territory. Industrial history and archeology, lots of nature just a few steps from the city with exceptional green areas such as the Burcina Park and the Zegna Oasis, the Sanctuary of Oropa and other spiritual places, the Ricetto di Candelo, a splendidly preserved medieval jewel, Lake Viverone and much more. Without forgetting the flavors of Piedmontese cuisine, our fine wines and the textile "know-how" that in 2019 earned Biella its entry into the Unesco Creative Cities network.

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How to reach us

Biella is located roughly halfway between Turin and Milan.

If you arrive by car: Once you have reached the center, we recommend that you go upwards to the village of Piazzo with the suggestive Funicular (you can take it in Piazza Curiel and it is free). Once you have gone up to the Piazzo go left, cross Piazza Cisterna and continue for about 5 minutes on foot to Palazzo Gromo Losa, which you will find on your right. Alternatively, you can leave your car at the "Piazzo Parking" (free) going up from Via Ivrea / Via Mentegazzi and reach the village of Piazzo via the convenient lift inside the parking lot. Palazzo Gromo Losa will be on your right once you reach Corso del Piazzo.

If you arrive by train: From the Biella San Paolo station, take the bus (lines 360 and 900) and get off in Piazza Curiel, then go up to the village of Piazzo with the Funicular (free). Once you have gone up to the Piazzo go left, cross Piazza Cisterna and continue for about 5 minutes on foot to Palazzo Gromo Losa, which you will find on your right.

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