Exhibition Michelangelo Antonioni opens 12 September

4 September 2015

From 12 September 2015 to 17 January 2016, EYE is presenting Michelangelo Antonioni – Il maestro del cinema moderno, an exhibition about one of the foremost innovators in film from the last century. The exhibition shows how Antonioni renewed the grammar of film by thinking in terms of the image and less in terms of narrative.

Antonioni was one of the first film authors who tried to capture the state of mind of characters searching for meaning by framing them in a particular way in a striking mise-en-scène. “Each square centimetre of the image is essential,” asserted Antonioni. The exhibition contains film fragments, photos by press photographers from Magnum, set photos, letters from Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau and Umberto Eco, and paintings by Antonioni. Antonioni’s films will be screened in the auditoriums and accompanied by special programmes.

With his famous trilogy L’avventura (1960), La notte (1961) and L’eclisse (1962) – all featuring his muse Monica Vitti – Antonioni became one of the leading directors of the last century. A stylistic perfectionist, he renewed the grammar of film. He conveyed estrangement and faltering communication between lovers with sophisticated mise-en-scène and wonderfully framed, desolate shots of industrial and desert landscapes. Narrative, dialogue and action were of lesser importance to him.
L’avventura (1960) ranks as a turning point in the history of film and the start of modern cinema. The director succeeded in translating the sense of malaise among the affluent middle class into oppressive images. It was deemed outrageous that, during a boat trip right at the start of L’avventura, the celebrated actress Lea Massari was made to disappear from the story. The film received fierce criticism at its premiere in Cannes, where leading actress Monica Vitti left the screening in tears. Nonetheless — after a campaign of support from fellow directors who immediately recognized the importance of the film – the film still won the jury prize.

About the exhibition

Michelangelo Antonioni – Il maestro del cinema moderno presents a selection of the many private documents preserved by the Gallerie d'arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Museo Michelangelo Antonioni di Ferrara. The exhibition offers insight into his work and shows how Antonioni changed the language of film for good.

The exhibition contains film excerpts, photographs taken on sets by Bruce Davidson (Magnum) among others, press articles, original scenarios and letters (by Alain Delon, Italo Calvino, Marcello Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau, Roland Barthes, Luchino Visconti, Umberto Eco, Giorgio Morandi and more). Also on display are paintings by Antonioni as well as excerpts from early Antonioni documentaries – Gente del Po and N.U. - Nettezza Urbana – and the documentary made by Antonioni in 1972 at the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party.

Accompanying the exhibition is an extensive programme of films, talks and events in the auditoriums.