A Tour not so Grand

Massimo Baldini’s exhibition A Tour not so Grand, in which he presents about thirty black & white photographs on the idea of “non-conventional” travel, opens on Friday November 9th at the Fondazione Carlo Gajani in Bologna.

The author had the opportunity of visiting provincial museums, small hidden institutions, places sometimes only just mentioned in tourist guides, if not completely overlooked, and was fascinated by these often surprising realities. By means of his photography, he intends to give an account of these experiences. His look is ironic and at the same time participatory, inclined to dwell on details that are able to generate alternative stories.

The journey that Massimo Baldini has undertaken is, as he himself suggests, “anticlassic” and “minimalist”, in fact: A Tour not so Grand. A trip tending to privilege not the “grandiose”, but rather certain curious, hidden, unusual – but none the less – attractive places Italy can offer, such as the Civic Aquarium in Milan, the Certosa Monumental Cemetery in Bologna, the Accordion Museum in Castelfidardo, the Sanitary Arts Museum in Naples, or the Cathedral of Sant’Agata in Lecce, just to name a few.
Baldini does not pursue – these are his words – “solemn or formally impeccable representations”, but he proposes “photographs that seek a particular perspective or glimpse, that suggest an eccentric point of view: they welcome everything that should diligently be avoided or ousted: shadows, overlaps, intrusions, ordinary objects”. Therefore, we will not see “the dazzling cultural capitals, but rather the neglected provinces, which are generous of neglected or forgotten treasures, timid surprises, restrained emotions”, and all things amusing and bizarre that they contain.

As a complement to the exhibition, there is a catalog with an introduction by Attilio Brilli, writer, university professor and author of numerous essays on the history of travel literature, who synthetically traces the cultural stages of the Grand Tour, analyzing its evolution up to date, characterized by new technologies and the proliferation of images. Through this path, Brilli will reach out to Baldini’s art, emphasizing how his work teaches us to “train the eye, observe the complexity of things, grasp the irony of life in incongruous accumulation, in detail, in insignificant waste, and make distraction a resource of the imaginary”(Brilli).

The exhibition runs till November 22nd. Opening hours are from Monday to Thursday from 3 to 7 pm. Free admission.

Massimo Baldini has a degree in Economic Sociology from the University of Florence and, after having taught at the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, he worked for many years for the publishing company Il Mulino in Bologna as editor of social and political sciences. He bought his first camera, an Asahi Pentax, at the age of sixteen. His photos have appeared on the covers of magazines and printed volumes. In 2017, he held a personal exhibition entitled Italianité in Paris, at the Maison de l’Italie. In the same year a preview of his project A Tour not so Grand was published by the magazine “Frattura Scomposta”. He is preparing an exhibition entitled Bassura, on the region of the Po delta.