Di roccia, fuochi e avventure sotterranee is a collection of photographic campaigns commissioned on construction sites in Europe, the Far East and Oceania by Ghella.
The work, is composed of a box set of six bilingual (Italian and English) hardback volumes. The first five volumes document as many photographic investigations carried out, each one by a different photographer, on the worksites of Athens, Oslo, Hanoi, Sydney and the Brenner. The sixth book gathers a selection of photographs from the historical archive of Ghella.
Each volume deals a specific type of construction site at its different stages of progress and diverse excavation techniques, combining documentation, portraiture, still life, conceptualism and abstraction.
The work proposes a new and precious contamination between artistic photography and the documentation of large engineering projects. The high typographic quality of the volumes returns the richness of details of the images taken by the involved photographers and their extraordinary expressive capacity.
The work of Fabio Barile is an investigation of the railway tunnel which will connect Oslo to Ski. It juxtaposes images of intricated natural and artificial systems such as galleries and excavating machines components, Coniferous forests, glimpses of the worksite, rock formations and new urbanizations all in a visual flow without interruption.
The Follo Line project in Norway consists of a new high-speed dual-track, 22 kilometres long, that will connect Oslo central station and a new hub for public transport in the city of Ski. The new line was designed to decongest the traffic in the south-eastern outskirts of Oslo, and to integrate the public mobility of the small towns around the capital. The contract involved the construction of around 64 kilometres of new tracks, which run through two twin tunnels. It is the longest railway tunnel ever excavated in Scandinavia. Follo Line is one of the most important high- speed railway projects in the world because of its technical complexity. It is also one of the first in Northern European history to feature a double tunnel created simultaneously with four Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), commonly known as “moles”.
Fabio Barile (Barletta, 1980) studies photography at the Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence. In 2007 he is selected amongst the finalists of Atlante Italiano 007 and his images are exhibited at the MAXXI in Rome. His first solo show, Diary n°0 – Things that do not Happen, is selected in the circuit of the Fotografia Festival Internazionale of Rome in 2009. That same year he exhibits the project Among at the Foto Festival of Atene and at the Centre d’Art Dominique Lang in Luxemburg. In 2010 he becomes part of the photographic archive Documentary Platform, A Visual Archive. In 2012 the project Soli Finti is selected for the Dummy Award of the Photobook Festival and exposed at Le Bal in Paris. In 2015 his work Homage to James Hutton is exhibited at the MACRO in Rome. Between 2017 and 2019 he exhibits An investigation of the laws observable in the composition, dissolution and restoration of land at the Matèria Gallery and at the all’ICCD of Roma, in dialogue with the photographic archive of the institute, at the Centro per le Arti Visive Pescheria of Pesaro and at Les Rencontres de la photographi e in Arles. In 2020 FOAM Magazine published a preview of his last work Works for a cosmic feeling. His works are to be found in the collections of the MAST Foundation in Bologna and the ICCD in Rome.
The photographs of Andrea Botto of the tunnel that will unite Italy to Austria, beneath the Brenner Pass, present themselves as the summary of a performative action: the certified miner, the person authorized to handle the explosive, puts into scene a long succession of preparatory activities which culminate with the spectacular explosion of the excavation face.
Being built under the Brenner Pass is what will one day become the longest high-speed underground rail link in the world: the Brenner Base Tunnel. The project is part of the Trans-European transport network TEN-T, nicknamed “the European underground”, and more precisely of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor. The excavation under the alps is particularly complex: the gallery is excavated through the quartz phyllites, the shales, the gneiss in particularly complex geological and hydrogeological conditions. Furthermore, approximately 20 kilometers of tunnel are excavated using traditional methods, utilizing explosive charges which are connected between them with det cords.
Andrea Botto (Rapallo, 1973) has exhibited his works in national and international museums among which the Bundeskusthalle in Bonn (2005), the Fotomuseum Winterthur (2005), the Stiftung Kultur in Colonia (2006), the MAXXI in Roma (2007 e 2016), the Fundacion Canal Isabel II in Madrid (2007), the MoCA in Shanghai (2010), the Benaki Museum in Athens (2015), Kolkata Centre for Creativity (2019). In parallel to photography he hosts daily lectures and workshops in diverse institutions and handles numerous cultural initiatives which are linked to photography. From 2006 to 2011 he has been the artistic director of the event Rapallo Fotografia Contemporanea. He had lectured at the IED in Turin and at the Master in High Education on Contemporary Image of the Fondazione Fotografia in Modena. He is part of the founding members of the artistic collective Fotoromanzo Italiano. His works are preserved in prvate and public collections. Among his monographs: 19.06_26.08.1945 (Danilo Montanari, 2014), third prize at the Fotobookfestival Kassel Dummy Award and finalist at the Paris Photo-Aperture First Book Award, KA-BOOM The Explosion of Landscape (Èditions Bessard, 2017), finalist at the Photobook Award of the Rencontres in Arles, Reviviscenza. Un ponte su Genova (Rizzoli, 2020).
The sequence from Francesco Neri of the first ever underground metro in Hanoi visually cuts the city following the trajectory of the future line. What emerges is a series of images where the construction site, still at its initial phase, determines the areas of conflict and challenge towards the, unexpected and organic, chaotic environments of Hanoi.
The project for the Hanoi Pilot Light Metro Line 3 is part of the new transport system for the Vietnamese capital. The section that Ghella is working on, which is fully funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is the longest and most important of the nine sections that the whole underground line is divided into. The Pilot Light Metro Line 3 is the first line of the Vietnamese capital excavated underground, extending for 12.5 kilometres from Nhon, in the Tay Tuu neighbourhood, flanking Kim Ma Street, in the western district of Nam Tu Liem, as far as Hanoi Station, in one of the city’s most populated areas. The Line 3, also known as the Văn Mieu Line (Line of the Literature Temple) and it will become the most utilized metropolitan line in Hanoi.
Francesco Neri (Faenza, 1982) After having collaborated with the Paris location of the Magnum Photos he studies photography at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Ravenna with Guido Guidi. His photographic research on portrait and the social landscape has developed over the past 15 years. His work is included in diverse collections such as: Museo Reina Sofia (Spain), SK Stiftung Kultur Museum (Germany), Fondation A Stichting (Belgium), Linea di Confine (Italy), Biennale di Architettura di Venezia (Italy), Fondazione Ermanno Casoli (Italy), Agarttha Arte Piemonte (Italy), Collezione Graziadei (Italy), MAXXI museum (Italy). Between 2013 and 2018 he is the visiting lecturer at the Bard College Annandale on Hudson (New York), the Academy of Visual Art Leipzig (Germany) and the London College of Communication (UK). In 2018 he receives the August Sander Award for portrait photography from the SK Stiftung Kultur Museum in Colonia. He is member and tutor for the faculty “AA - Architectural Association, School of Architecture” in London and he teaches photography at the Istituto Superiore di Grafica Pubblicitaria in Faenza.
The images taken by Marina Caneve of the metropolitan line which will link Athens Airport to the Piraeus harbor are structured in an intrinsic forest of themes related to the relationship between a city, contemporary design and historical memory. There is an alternation between views of the city and of the construction site to views of archeological relics, core drill and components coming from excavating machines.
The Haidari–Piraeus extension of Athens Metro Line 2 stretches from Haidari, a residential district located in the western outskirts of the city, as far as the Port of Piraeus, ending at Dimotiko Theatro station. The project involves the construction of six new stations: Agia Varvara, Korydallos, Nikaia, Maniatika, Piraeus, and Dimotiko Theatre. Once completed, the new section of the Metro will be capable of transporting 135,000 passengers a day and will connect the main Greek port with Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, reducing travelling time by 60 minutes. The excavation of the new stations led to the discovery of an as yet unspecified number of archaeological finds dating back to ancient Athens, among which vases, amphorae, dishes, statuettes, and other items that were then catalogued and archived by a group of expert archaeologists and specialists.
Marina Caneve (1988) deals with visual research and in her work, she experiments with the use of photography as an autonomous observation tool within interdisciplinary research. Caneve is mostly interested in complexity, knowledge, catastrophes, balance, and vulnerability. Her work has been exhibited in national and international institutions, and she has carried out photographic campaigns and research projects for institutions such as MUFOCO, MiBACT, ICCD, National Mountain Museum, as well as for private clients. She combines her artistic practice with teaching (IUAV MA in Photography and Spazio Labò).
With the project “Are they Rocks or Clouds?” she has won numerous awards, including the Young Italian Photography Award at Fotografia Europea Reggio Emilia, the Photobook Dummy Award at Cortona On The Move, the Bastianelli Award, and she was nominated for the Prix du livre des Rencontres d’Arles 2020.
In 2020 she was nominated by CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia for the international program Futures Photography and became a member of the MAPS agency.
Her major publications include Are they Rocks or Clouds? (Fw:Books), Di roccia, fuochi e avventure sotterranee (Quodlibet), The Shape of Water Vanishes in Water (A+Mbookstore edizioni). She is co-founder of CALAMITA/À, an interdisciplinary platform with a focus on catastrophes and especially the Vajont (2013-ongoing), for which she curated various exhibitions and The Walking Mountain (CALAMITA/À).
The photos of Alessandro Imbriaco of the new tunnels that run under the Sydney Bay recall atmospheres which are attributable to the exploration of space: detailed images of the mechanical moles (TBM) alternate to complex systems of signs and symbols which, painted with colored varnishes, on the walls of the tunnels, appear as cave paintings in an alien environment.
Sydney Metro is the most imposing infrastructural project in all of Australia, and it involves the development and the building of the Sydney metro network. What is unique about the new tunnels in the project is that they connect to the overhead infrastructure that exists in the areas of Chatswood and Marrickville, after which they travel below Sydney Harbour and some highly urbanized areas like the City Business District. The excavation of the stations of Pitt Street and Martin Place came about in the most populated and congested area of Sydney. Once the stretch is completed, it is estimated that the capacity of the metro will increase from about 24,000 to 40,000 passengers per hour, and that the trains will have an average frequency of one train every two minutes.
Alessandro Imbriaco (Salerno, 1980) from 2007 until 2011 has worked on a project on living in Rome, TAZ, depicting gypsy camps, housing occupations and urban suburbs. From 2011 to 2016 with Tommaso Bonaventura and Fabio Severo he works at the project Corpi di Reato, a visual archeology on the phenomena of mafia in the contemporary Italy. In 2014 and 2016 he takes part at the Biennale di Architettura in Venice. In 2017 the idea of Forza Maggiore, a collective and multidisciplinary project on the post-earthquake reconstruction. In 2019 he curated the project Archivio Bellosguardo, an experiment for the construction of a photographic archive and of a system of residences in Cilento. From 2019 he collaborates with ICCD curating the ideation and development of the portal #scenedaunpatrimonio. Since 2014 he is a lecturer at the IED (European Institue of Design). Among the awards received: Premio Atlante Italiano – MAXXI, Premio Canon, World Press Photo, Foam Talent, Premio Ponchielli, European Publishers Award for Photography. His works are stored from the archive of the Biennale di Venezia, Museo Riso in Palermo, MUFOCO in Cinisello Balsamo, MAXXI and from the ICCD in Rome. His books have been published in Italy, UK, France, Germany from editors such as Electa, Dewi Lewis, Actes Sud and Kehrer Verlag.
The selection of photos from Ghella’s historical archive, curated by Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, document the company’s activity from the end of the nineteenth century until the fifties of last century. Of exceptional spectacularity are the photos which depict the excavations for the Trans-Siberian of 1898, of the works for Beacon Hill Tunnel in Hong Kong belonging to the year 1908 but also those of the works for the metro in Rome of 1939 up to the hydroelectric facility of Fundres in South Tyrol in 1951.
Alessandro Dandini de Sylva (Rome, 1981) is an artist and curator. His works have been exhibited in public and private institutions among which the Flowers Gallery in London, the Humble Arts Foundation in New York, the Bund 33 Art Center in Shanghai, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Paris and Operativa Arte Contemporanea in Rome. Among the received awards are the Shanghai Prize, Les Promesses de l’Art and the Talent Prize. His first book, Paesaggi, is present in public collections such as the Tate Library in London and the ICCD in Rome and it has been exhibited in international manifestations like Off Print (Paris and London), I Never Read (Basel) and Unseen (Amsterdam). From 2011 to 2016 he has been the curator of the Fotografia Festival Internazionale in Rome. Between 2012 and 2016 he has curated a cycle of experimental photography exhibitions at the MACRO in Rome. In 2013 and 2014 he has been the guest curator at the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome and at the Fondazione Ermanno Casoli in Fabriano. Since 2016 he is the director of the Fondazione Malaspina in Ascoli Piceno and since 2017 curator at the Fondazione Pescheria Centro Arti Visive in Pesaro.
To work responsibly, in our business, means being fully aware of the impact that our works have on the territory, on people, and on time. We leave traces that must endure. While leafing through the faded pictures in our archive, I once again saw the tunnels that are over a century old, and that are still in use today. Perhaps their use has changed, but from the start they have respected those criteria of time, territory, and, hence, humans. Leaving a trace is our business but leaving behind a story is the work of artists.