According to Franco Fontana “the purpose of art is to make visible the invisible.” And with his photographs, he does just that, taking ordinary everyday scenes and turning them into striking, colourful landscapes.
Franco Fontana is indeed a magician, an artist who believes the relationship with nature or reality should be accompanied by poetry, and for the entire summer his most famous works will be on display at the Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre in Nice.
Born in Modena in 1933, Fontana is now recognized as one of the most famous contemporary masters of art photography in Italy. However, he did not start taking pictures until 1961 when he was 28 years old, influenced by the picturesque tradition of American abstract expressionism and minimalism. Two years later, he had his first show in Vienna.
Trying his hand in different areas of art, he soon became interested in black and white photography and documentary, with clearly marked social overtones. He also took on painting and photographed cityscapes and nudes.
But it is for the landscapes of his homeland that he is the most well-known, thanks to his unique and recognizable style of “photographic line”, his incredible sense of composition, his skillful geometric construction of the frame, and wonderful selection of colours. Mountains, sea, coast, hills and fields appear as a succession of multicoloured stripes, sometimes contrasting, sometimes in a single scheme.
As Fontana describes his photographs, “I try to isolate in time and space all that is usually confused with the infinite parts. Extraction and isolation of some of the most important elements of all that appears to the human eye – one of my main requirements: to achieve a harmonic unity through the elimination of all disturbing natural elements. In this way a landscape is born which is made up by subtle relations of space, form, drawing and colour“.
This description may seem like a strange thing for a photographer to say since the essential purpose of the camera is to capture the visible but after all, even though we are all looking at the same world, we all perceive things differently and Fontana’s art is just a perfect reminder of that.
Franco Fontana – Horizons runs from the 1st of June, to the 30th of September 2018, at the Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre. Open every day from 11 am to 6 pm, closed Mondays.
Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre
1, place Pierre Gautier
Puglia, 1978 © Franco FONTANA – Courtesy galerie baudoin lebon Paris