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La Biennale di Venezia

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Portraits [One-of-a-kind Works]

The protagonists of the Venice Film Festival from 1996 to 2004


On the occasion of the 76th Venice International Film Festival, and for the second year  running, the Biennale di Venezia will organize an exhibit entitled Ritratti (Opere uniche). 300 Polaroid raccontano i protagonisti della Biennale Cinema dal 1996 al 2004. The exhibit will place on the Lido, at the Hotel Des Bains – with the participation of Coima Sgr, the fund manager of the complex – and in Venice, at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the exhibit's sponsor, in collaboration with the technical sponsor, Imex.

The exhibit – which will run from August 26th to September 15th, in conjunction with the 76th Venice Film Festival (August 28 – September 15, 2019) – is curated by Alberto Barbera, the director of the Biennale's Film Sector.

Says Manfredi Catella, Founder and CEO of COIMA Sgr, “Italy has a strategic cultural, social, and economic resource on its territory. The commitment of the Biennale, and its achievements in Venice, is a prime example of the extent to which culture can animate and valorize a city. It is an honor for us to consolidate our collaboration with the Biennale and the Municipality of Venice, to help enhance an extraordinary place like the Venice Lido and, in particular, the Hotel Des Bains."

The exhibit at the Hotel Des Bains is a collection of 300 gigantic Polaroids depicting the protagonists of the Venice Film Festivals which took place between 1996 and 2004: the winners of the Golden Lions and other awards, members of the juries, the maestros of cinema and the international stars who walked down the Lido's red carpet. The photos are in chronological order for the nine years of reference and are embellished with backstage videos of the various photo sessions. These gigantic Polaroids retrace the sojourn in Venice of the celebrities who made the history of global cinema at the turn of the millennium, from Bernardo Bertolucci to Zhang Yimou, from Johnny Depp to Julianne Moore.

The exhibit has been organized in collaboration with the agency Photomovie,  which, from 1996 to 2004, officially documented the filmmakers and the stars at the Film Festival, using the Giant Camera which Polaroid produced in a very limited edition. This camera takes photographs which develop in 80 seconds, after which the negatives die, leaving only the “one-off” positives which cannot be reproduced; these Polaroids were on display at the Palazzo del Cinema during those years.

Various Italian portrait makers took their turn behind the camera during the nine years the Giant Polaroid was used in Venice: Fabrizio Marchesi, Stefano C. Montesi, Jacek P. Soltan, Fabio Lovino, Chico De Luigi, and Maurizio Galimberti have made this exhibit possible. The Giant Polaroids taken by Maurizio Galimberti are paired with some of the most beautiful “photographic mosaics” the artist made during the 2003 and 2004 Film Festivals.

The exhibit continues at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi. “We are particularly happy to collaborate with the Biennale on this photographic project,” says Patrizia Moro, CEO of  DFS Italia. “The department store T Fondaco dei Tedeschi has art and culture in its DNA;  right from its inauguration it has hosted installations by contemporary artists and offers a full calendar of cultural events. Thus, to be a sponsor of Ritratti (Opere uniche) and to host some of the photos on our premises, thereby creating an ideal pathway between the Hotel Des Bains and the Fondaco, is a unique opportunity for us, in keeping with our personality.”

The building which houses T Fondaco dei Tedeschi was built in 1228 to provide accommodations for merchants from northern Europe. It was reconstructed in its present form in 1508. It underwent radical structural work in the early 20th century and in 1925 it became the official property of the Italian Postal Service. In 2008, Edizione Property bought the building and entrusted its restructuring to the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his studio OMA. In 2016, DFS Group opened T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, its first lifestyle department store in Europe, and gave England's Jamie Fobert the project to upgrade the internal spaces and the furnishings. T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is also an important cultural pole for the city of Venice, thanks to the contemporary art exhibits it hosts – at present, the installation “La regola del sogno” by Barnaba Fornasetti – and its full calendar of events which animate the fourth floor of the Event Pavilion and attract an increasingly large and dedicated public.

The exhibit Ritratti (Opere uniche) was also made with the technical collaboration of Imex, a company specialized in the production of wooden frame moldings and derivatives, with headquarters in the province of Bergamo. Imex embraced this project as a unique opportunity to bring together the industrial and artistic sectors, and to show the importance of frame molding in conveying the message of a work of art to the public's eye.


Hotel des Bains
Lungomare G. Marconi 17, Lido di Venezia

26 August – 7 September, 10 am – 10 pm
8 – 15 September, 10 am – 6 pm
Free entrance

Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema