Mimmo Castellano’s material story in photographs of the Paese Lucano, 1965

“The images collected here were taken from a recent three-month investigation conducted by Mimmo Castellano in the towns of Lucania. Many customs have fallen by the wayside. Many traditions are now extinct. In Castellano he couldn’t find a single troccola (a type of percussion instrument)…”

So said Leonardo Sinisgalli in the introduction to Paese Lucano the book/photo report created with the photographer Mimmo Castellano, published in 1965 by Amilcare Pizzi. It was a volume commissioned by ENI, which at the time had begun its mining activities in Basilicata. In treating the relationship between tradition and modernity, as Castellano is reported to have said in an interview with Franco Vitelli in July 2011, “Sinisgalli wanted to carry out a cultural and civic awareness operation, highlighting the social context into which such a revolutionary activity would fit. The more traditional the country was, the more disruptive the introduction of modernity turned out to be.
Although many of Sinisgalli’s suggestions went unanswered, Castellano managed to immerse himself in the places and communities he encountered, producing powerfully expressive images from them. A gaze that has succeeded in transcending both the ethnographic and the neorealist approach. Guided by an obvious documentarian and sociological urgency, Castellano constructs a story through images that breaks down aesthetic canons and stereotypes, establishing a new way of seeing the South and a new visual language. The images depicting the artisanal world of the Memorabilis exhibition are taken from this extraordinary photo report, drawn together into a “material” story, a sequence of faces, gestures, skills, signs and objects which are suddenly restored to the memory of the present.
Palmarosa Fuccella

In mostra



 7 11 July 2021

Basilicata OpenSpace, Piazza Vittorio Veneto

Exhibition opening hours
7 July: 6 pm/9.30 pm
8, 9, 10, July: 9 am/1 pm – 4.30 pm/9.30 pm
11 July: 10 am/8 pm