Masterpieces from the Museum of Contemporary Photography
curated by Roberta Valtorta
Spazio Oberdan, viale Vittorio Veneto 2, Milano


Yesterday Today Milan” is a major exhibition dedicated to the city of Milan, featuring important photographs from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography. 

It presents 170 photographs and video works that date from the postwar period to the present, by more than 40 Italian and foreign artists, which provide a rich scenario composed of different situations that stimulate reflection on the enormous changes that have changed the face of the city in terms of urban planning (from the rubble and barracks of the late ‘40s to the expanding suburbs, the factories, the great contemporary construction sites, the new face of the Milanese metropolis), socio-economic issues (working class people,  families, young people, women, the middle class) and culture (the personalities of the worlds of art, design, architecture and cinema).   

Among the vast photographic heritage preserved at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (more than 2 million images, 33 photography collections, more than 600 Italian and foreign artists), many are the works that recount the social history, the key figures, and the transformations of the city of Milan. 

For this exhibition, works from 12 photography collections have been selected: Raccolta antologica, Federico Patellani, Lanfranco Colombo, Achille Sacconi, Enzo Nocera, Attilio del Comune, Mario Cattaneo, Paolo Gioli, Gabriele Basilico/Milano. Ritratti di fabbriche,  Milano senza confini, Idea di metropoli, Alessandro Vicario. These include masterpieces by some of the world’s most famous contemporary photographers, innovative projects by young artists who today are protagonists of the contemporary art scene, and enquiries by major figures in the history of Italian photography. 

These are the photographers featured in the exhibition: Giampietro Agostini, Marina Ballo Charmet, Olivo Barbieri, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Gabriele Basilico, Luca Campigotto, Vincenzo Castella, Mario Cattaneo, Carla Cerati, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Cesare Colombo, John Davies, Attilio Del Comune, Paola De Pietri, Paola Di Bello, Peter Fischli e David Weiss, Emilio Frisia, Moreno Gentili, Paolo Gioli, Paul Graham, Guido Guidi, Giovanni Hänninen, Mimmo Jodice, Uliano Lucas, Tancredi Mangano, Paola Mattioli, Gianfranco Mazzocchi, Paolo Monti, Toni Nicolini, Enzo Nocera, Federico Patellani, Tino Petrelli, Bernard Plossu, Pietro Privitera, Francesco Radino, Achille Sacconi, Beat Streuli, Thomas Struth, Pio Tarantini, Alessandro Vicario, Massimo Vitali, Manfred Willmann, Giovanni Ziliani.     

Thanks to the variety of the photography collections represented, the number and importance of the artists, the diversity of the approaches and styles (from classic reportage to architectural and landscape photography to portraiture) as well as formats and presentations, the exhibition also constitutes a concrete opportunity for the public to experience a true and direct encounter with significant works of photography belonging to the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography.

The exhibition space of Spazio Oberdan lends itself well to clear and useful narration: in the ample gallery on the first floor there are works dating from the mid-1990s to the present, focused on the urban landscape, from the historic center to the suburbs to the great construction sites of the new skyscrapers, revealing a post-industrial and post-modern Milan, almost all of them large format color prints; in the rooms that follow in the ‘balconata’, photos dating from the postwar era to the 1980s, prevalently dedicated to the history of the city, Milanese society, workers and factories and the main figures in art and culture, in the typical ‘historical’ format, almost all in black & white, which remind us of photography’s function as a store of collective memory. 

Catalogue: Ieri oggi Milano, Silvana Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2015, english/italian, 144 pages, 104 color images.

Exhibition conceived and realized
by the Museum of Contemporary Photography
Promoted along with the Metropolitan City of Milan, the City Council of Cinisello Balsamo, the Triennale di Milano and the Region Lombardy
In collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism through Arcus SpA, company dedicated to the development of art, culture and entertainment