MIA – Milan Image Art Fair 2014

MIA – Milan Image Art Fair, the three-day Milanese event dedicated to photography, just closed its 4th edition with flying colors. The fair, which immediately made a name for itself thanks to the competence of its founder, Fabio Castelli, its scientific committee and its original formula: “one stand to each artist, to each artist its own catalogue” (this year the catalogue is in e-book format), once again reached a successful conclusion in our country and is ready to land for the first time in Singapore from 24th to 26th October 2014. But before leaving for Asia, let’s stock on this experience stressing its highs and lows.

We pinpointed some stands among the 180 international exhibitors – galleries, independent photographers, printers and publishers – which really caught our attention, and also some weak points that left us a little bit disappointed. Walking the numerous corridors of Superstudio Più’s huge building, we could not avoid stopping at the space hosting “Tempo ritrovato – Fotografie da non perdere”, a special prize devoted to private, and most of the time unknown, historical archives. The award this year went to the gems of Tranquillo Casiraghi’s archive (Sesto San Giovanni, Milan, 1923-2005), depicting charming people and landscapes from the genuine northern province.

The shots by the master Luigi Ghirri on view at Photographica FineArt were, as usual, beautiful and full of poetry as well the ones by the incomparable Francesca Woodman at Galerie Clara Maria Sels and Mario Giacomelli with his stark contrasts and well rendered grain displayed by Artistocratic.

The photos by Charlotte Perriand at ADMIRA were undoubtedly striking, but putting aside the fascination for the past and getting back to the world of still living photographers we were captivated by the delicate colors and strong narrative power of the work by Giovanni Chiaramonte on view at Valeria Bella gallery and the mystery and hypnotism of Michele Zaza at Six Gallery. Podbielski Contemporary, mc2gallery and Galleria Continua deserve a special mention: the first one for its stunning pictures by Francesco Jodice, the second one for the project “Etna” by the young and talented photographer Renato D’Agostin and the third one for presenting the work of the outstanding Belgian visual artist Hans Op de Beeck, maybe the most international touch of the whole fair.

Closing the tour with the exhibition “Verso l’oriente” (with shots by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Thomas Struth, Nobuyoshi Araki, Yamasuma Morimura, Naoya Hatakeyama, Daido Moriyama and Toshio Shibata) that winks at the upcoming edition in Singapore, we have one short consideration: MIA is certainly one the best proposals related to photography offered by the Italian art system, but to reach its full accomplishment, it would need to complete its domestic peculiarity with a more significant international impulse. Let’s wait for the next edition.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of Agota Lukyte