Francesco Neri: 
Boncellino  
19 Jan–16 Mar 2024


This exhibition marks Italian photographer Francesco Neri’s London debut and the first presentation of a body of work made over the last two years in the tiny hamlet of Boncellino near to his home town of Faenza in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna. Faenza is surrounded by an abundant, cultivated landscape, farmed since Roman times with fruits and vegetables, vines and cereals. Increasingly, though, its rural villages are experiencing the deadening effects of depopulation and ecological degradation.

Boncellino is the latest iteration of what has become a prolonged study of the agrarian communities of Neri’s native region. The study was catalysed in 2009 by an encounter with a local farmer Livio Papi. With their meeting, Neri found the key to unlock his own deep sense of connection to place. Through the portraiture of the region’s people, and more specifically, his photographic interaction with them, he saw the route “to understand where I am from”. Like many photographers who focus on what is closest to them, the project is in one sense also an evolving self-portrait. Neri returns to photograph people - and the buildings they have made - again and again, “to retrace my steps and see how things and people have changed. I too have changed in turn.” As the work grows, the photographer and his subjects age together, and the photographic project itself becomes a record of the passage of time. 

Excerpt from the introduction written by Kate Bush.

Part of the exhibition is a new portfolio, ‘Wooden Tool Shed’, comprising 8 gelatin silver contact prints and an accompanying book with further illustrations, alongside a new text by David Campany, produced by Imagebeeld Edition, Brussels.

Kate Bush is an independent curator and writer. Her previous roles include Senior Curator of Photography, Tate Britain; Head of Media Space; and Head of Art Galleries, Barbican.








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