December 17, 2017

Paolo Roversi @ Fondazione Sozzani, Milan

Paolo Roversi: Incontri
Fondazione Sozzani, Milan
Through February 11, 2018

As a complement to the large exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, PAOLO ROVERSI’s exhibition “Incontri” at the Fondazione Sozzani highlights the strictly painterly structure of his photographs.

Beyond any specific model or subject, Paolo Roversi’s artistry lives in composition and geometry. He possesses an abstract approach to reality. Since the early 80s, his photographs have met the demands of a constant formal rigor which lends them an astonishingly timeless character, in contradiction to the tastes and customs of fashion. His familiarity with the history of art, and with Italian painting in particular, allows him to make photographs in the manner of a painter. He often works in series on a single theme or model, as if he sought to capture every last one of its formal possibilities.

For the present exhibition, Paolo Roversi has brought his photographs together in twos and threes: diptychs and triptychs. This technique, never systematically employed by him until now, affords the viewer an unprecedented vision of these works, as it gives them a monumental dimension. Composing a painting in several parts confers greater importance upon a subject through a proliferation of readings, as in Renaissance painting, which made extensive use of this technique. In this exhibition, Paolo Roversi’s photography appears more serene, more mastered, than ever before.

Among the thirty diptychs and triptychs created especially for this exhibition – on the basis of photographs which are among his most important works – this selection also exhibits, for the first time, a set of mutual portraits made in 2001 in Nova Scotia with the great American photographer Robert Frank.


Paolo Roversi (Ravenna, 1947) began working as a photojournalist for The Associated Press in the 1970s. In November 1973, at the suggestion of Peter Knapp, creative director of the magazine Elle, he moved to Paris where he worked as a photojournalist for the Huppert Agency.

In 1974, he became assistant to British photographer Laurence Sackman. After leaving Sackman's studio, Roversi began taking pictures for Elle and Dépêche Mode. His first major photographic commission was published in Marie Claire, and in 1980 when he signed the Christian Dior campaign.

In 1980, Paolo Roversi started using Polaroid 20x24cm film and collaborating with leading fashion magazines around the world: Elle, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. In those years he starts shooting the fashion campaigns for some of the most important fashion names: Yohji Yamamoto, Azzedine Alaïa, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès, Giorgio Armani and Valentino.

In 1996, he won the Trophée de la Mode Paris and in 2001 and he was awarded the China Fashion Award. In 2000, he exhibited in Milan at Galleria Carla Sozzani; in 2002, in New York at the Pace/MacGill Gallery; in 2006, in Japan at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Number 1; in 2008, at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles; and in 2009, at the Camera Work Galerie in Berlin; in 2017 in Milan at Palazzo Reale and at Fondazione Sozzani.

Paolo Roversi published several monographic books including two books focused on portraits: “Angeli” in 1994 and “Al Moukalla” in 1995 for Camera Oscura and many monographies such as "Una Donna", Carla Sozzani Editore, 1989; "Nudi", Editions Stromboli, 1999; "Libretto", Editions Stromboli, 2000; "Studio", Steidlangin, 2005; "Secrets", Editions Stromboli, 2013; “Dior Images”, Rizzoli International, 2018.

Curated by Alessia Glaviano

Fondazione Sozzani
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Corso Como 10 – 20154 Milano, Italia

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