Fragility – Photographs by Barbara Luisi

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Giovanna Pennacchi is pleased to present


Photographs by Barbara Luisi

Curated by Manuela De Leonardis

November 21 – December 14, 2016

Opening reception: Monday, November 21, 2016 – 6:30 PM

Bodies that intertwine giving way to the movements of a virtual dance, fast-paced dialogues of gazes: the series Fragility (2013-2015) defines the meaning of intimacy by allowing traces of eroticism to surface without any sense of provocation. Often hands and feet are the focus. Barbara Luisi shares an intimacy that is born out of the improvisatory quality of the models’ gestures (they are no professionals), rather than from the exigencies of the photographic set, from their whispered words, and from the way they move in the darkness of her studio, “each one expressing feelings of being trapped inside themselves.” A perceivable unconditional freedom enters in the composition of the image. Fragility is understood as something other than a potentially labile psychological condition, in its potential as gift, as a secret to protect. Together with nature, art—in all its declinations—is an unending source of inspiration throughout the centuries. Especially the art one can breath in Rome where Luisi goes at age eighteen when she starts photographing. Michelangelo’s Pietà—the neat naturalness of the figures and the aspiration to perfection of the forms—is a model that will come back in time, along with Caravaggio’s hallmark, that is, the theatricality in the use of light, and the pulsating and ambiguous sensuality that filters through Bernini’s sculptures, all the more so when the subject is the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. The classical legacy—absorbed and processed over time—is synthesized by an emblematic work such as the Torso of Discobolus (restored like a wounded warrior) in the Musei Capitolini, marble copy dating to the I century A.C. of Myron’s sculpture, restored and reinterpreted between 1658 and 1733 by the French sculptor Pierre-Etienne Monnot, in which the tension of the thrust forward is already captured in the following moment.

The language of black and white, printing mostly with silver gelatin on baryta or pigment prints, at times also as platinum prints, is a necessary choice if photography is to enhance reality through the subtraction of elements. Just as with music, in which countless possibilities are given through the combination of only seven notes.

(Manuela de Leonardis)

Barbara Luisi was born in Munich and works between New York, Zurich and Camogli (Italy). A violinist since the age of nine, after graduating from the Munich Arts and Music High School, she continued her studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. She has played with some of the most important European orchestras, such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestre Nationale du Capitole of Toulouse, and the Bayerische Staatsoper. In addition, she was First Violin in the Pocci String Quartet. Fascinated by the camera obscura, she started to experiment with photography at the age of seventeen. Portraiture, often associated with theatre and music, is one of her favorite genres, along with nude, still life, and nocturnal photography. She has studies and worked with such photographers as Eikoh Hosoe, Art Streiber, Michael Grecco and Jock Sturges. Among her most recent solo exhibitions are: 2015 – Florence After Midnight Fall, Opera House, Firenze; Dreamland, Glorietta Gallery, Beirut; Night on Earth, NYU University, New York; 2014 – ŒUVRES RÉCENTES, European Center for Photography, Paris; Night and Nude, Emmeotto Gallery, Rome; Dreamland, Auditorium Fondazione Paolo Grassi, Martina Franca (TA). She is the author of the books, Nude Nature (Böhlau, 2008), Glühende Nacht (Böhlau, 2008), Pearls, Tears of the Sea (Böhlau, 2011), and Dreamland (Contrasto, 2014).

You can see some of her work at:


Fragility. Photographs by Barbara Luisi

November 21 – December 14, 2016

Opening reception: Monday, November 21, 2016 – 6:30PM

Curated by Manuela De Leonardis


Director: Giovanna Pennacchi

Via Panisperna, 82-83 – 00184 Roma

Gallery opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 3:30PM – 7:30PM  

Tel 064742005


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