Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fulvio Roiter, the Late, Great Venetian Photographer at Tre Oci in Venice

Fulvio Roiter, Venezia, Squero di San Trovaso, 1970 © Fondazione Fulvio Roiter
(Venice, Italy) Today, Venice is one of the most photographed cities on the planet. Every year about 30 million tourists clutching smart phones descend upon the fragile environment and tweet images of her astonishing beauty to their followers and friends around the globe. More serious hobbyists armed with Canons shoot the Venetian sunset, her bridges and monuments, or the color-coordinated laundry flapping in the breeze.

But long before the phenomenon of instant pictures shot by foreigners, Fulvio Roiter, one of Venice's own photographers, introduced the world to her beauty through his soulful lens.

La Casa dei Tre Oci on the island of Giudecca presents the first retrospective show of Fulvio Roiter, who died in Venice on April 18, 2016. Presented by the Fondazione di Venezia in partnership with the City of Venice, Fulvio Roiter Photographs 1948-2007 is a tribute to the photographer who, more than any other, has linked the image of Venice to his name. Curated by artistic director Denis Curti, the exhibit is also an act of love by the photographer, Lou Embo, who was Roiter's wife.

Fulvio Roiter, Miniera di zolfo in Sicilia, 1953 © Fondazione Fulvio Roiter
Fulvio Roiter was born on November 1, 1926 in Meolo, a small town in the municipality of Venice on the mainland.  He became interested in photography while studying to become a chemist. In 1948, he met Paolo Monti, one of the founders of the photography group, "La Gondola," a circle of photographers that still maintains a strong presence here in Venice.  Roiter's attraction to photography coincided with the Italian Neo-realism cultural movement, the period after World War II in which film and photography focused on the larger social concerns of humanity.

"And so 1953 arrived. My father was becoming increasingly less tolerant and he gave me an ultimatum: either I went back to chemistry or else my enthusiasm for photography had to be turned into a money-earner. I was at a crossroads. I asked for one last chance. This: give me the minimum means and let me go to Sicily."

Fulvio Roiter, Venezia, Gondola seen from the Rialto Bridge, 1953 © Fondazione Fulvio Roiter
The exhibition includes 200 photos on three floors of Tre Oci, most of them vintage, that wind through the scope of Roiter's life, from his first attempts at photography during the neo-realism period, to his fascination with the beauty of the female nude, through his innovative pictures of Venice and her lagoon, as well as his journeys abroad to places like New Orleans, Iran, the Amazon, Mexico and Andalusia.

Fulvio Roiter, Venezia, Fondamenta delle Zattere, 1965 © Fondazione Fulvio Roiter
Roiter spent the first 25 years of his career shooting in only black and white, "with an uncompromising formal and compositional rigor and a technique rooted in contrast." He later used the same discerning technique when working with color.
"I have always considered black and white as the only yardstick for judging a photo. Colour can be arrived at by chance or by calculation; black and white, no." 

Fulvio Roiter

Fulvio Roiter, Venezia, Ponte dei Tre Archi, 1979 © Fondazione Fulvio Roiter

From the exhibition:


"The heart and soul of Fulvio Roiter's work was Venice, the city that first invited his eyes to look through a viewfinder in order to bring to light what nobody had seen before. A magical city overflowing with history, the set for a film that had never been released but that soon everyone would want to see by walking along the alleys by the lagoon.

His photos had the power of a megaphone and managed to connect the city to the world. Venice was the research field where Roiter discovered his artistic identity precisely at the time when the city was being reborn through unusual and attractive images, through photographs that allowed the whole world to get to know its poetry and enchantment." 

There is also a beautiful 272-page hardcover book about the exhibition published by Marsilio in both Italian and English, with essays by Denis Curti and Italo Zannier, which states that it is "The most complete monograph ever published and the first after the death of the great Venetian photographer." The photographs are organized into thematic sections: “Venice in Black and White,” “The Tree,” “Venice in Color,” “Italy in Black and White,” “Around the World” and “A Man Without Desires.” The book is available now if you visit the exhibition at Tre Oci, or you can pre-order it at Libro Co. Italia, at Rizzoli, or on Amazon, when it will be available on September 4, 2018. 

Fulvio Roiter. Fotografie 1948 - 2007 runs from March 16, 2018 through August 26, 2018. Go to La Casa dei Tre Oci for more information.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. But long before the phenomenon of instant pictures shot by foreigners, Fulvio Roiter, one of Venice's own photographers, introduced the world to her beauty through his soulful lens.