Ruediger Glatz. Reflecting Pasolini

July 8 > September 4, 2022

curated by Alessio de' Navasques 
The exhibition, promoted by Roma Culture and organised by the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, is part of the Rome Capital City Cultural Affairs Department's PPP1000 program of events coordinated with the Cultural Activities Department.

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Ruediger Glatz. Reflecting Pasolini 8 July__4 September 2022
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Palazzo delle Esposizioni hosts the first Italian one-man show of work by German photographer Ruediger Glatz, curated by Alessio de’ Navasques and showcasing over sixty black and white photographs devoted to Pier Paolo Pasolini. Adopting a clinical, almost scientific approach that appears to echo a certain German photographic tradition right up to the poetic need to convey reality typical of Subjektive Photographie, Ruediger Glatz takes his measure of the great Italian thinker in a process of rapprochement, refraction and reflection.

The ineffable quality of a solitary fate – a recurrent theme in Pasolini’s work – the sense of absence palpable in certain places, objects, situations and memories, the nostalgia for the people who have lived in those spaces, the presences that have physically inhabited then only to them leave them empty – all of this has generated a personal and unique vision of the poet conveyed through the artist’s images. The topographical sites like buildings, but also objects, somehow denaturalised, once again become the “characters” of the narrative. Pier Paolo Pasolini chose to base his narrative on urban, natural and suburban landscapes with a semantic strength capable of maintaining their anthropological and political character even in the fiction of the cinema. Similarly, Ruediger Glatz recovers for us the memory of the scenic and literary space through details, using a process borrowed from the poet himself which imbues his images with a new and ambivalent relationship with time.

Ruediger Glatz, ON PPP  | View of the roofs of Mattatoio towards the Gasometer, Roma 2022
Ruediger Glatz, EMBODYING PASOLINI  | Performance by Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard Mattatoio, Rome, 2021

Using that unpredictable “magical quality” of photography that Walter Benjamin called “the tiny spark of accident”, an authenticity that the reproduction medium par excellence expresses as a spell crystalised in time, Ruediger Glatz has succeeded in recording the strength of absence in a performance entitled Embodying Pasolini, presented in the spaces of the Mattatoio in Rome in June 2021. In an action unfolding in several phases, actress and performer Tilda Swinton and curator and fashion historian Olivier Saillard explored, through the sculptural monumentality of Danilo Donati’s costumes, the memory of Pasolini’s characters who had worn them. Under Saillard’s guiding hand, Swinton, with her physique at once diaphanous yet strong, sought in the holes in the fabric, in the void of the folds of these inanimate objects, in their perception both material and immaterial, the very essence of Pasolini’s cinema. The exhibition conjures up the performance experience in images as though it were a fresco cycle, a “time room” reflecting the magnetism and the most intense moments of the action, the expressiveness in the texture and fabric f the costumes, their austerely sacred nature in the atmosphere of the Mattatoio and the intimacy and dialogue of the backstage. The use of extended or multiple exposure in his images allowed the photographer to resort to doubles and reflections in order to convey the suspended time-space of the performance in the transfiguration of the actress. The light precisely impresses the reflection of a “personification” that touches not just the various characters but Pasolini himself. The contrast with black reveals the fragility and instability of the action, the photographic project’s intrinsically open quality.

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Swinton’s own enigmatic face and the moment of the performance become a reflecting device, a punctum that fertilises the photographer’s creativity, triggering a process of exploration and familiarisation with Pasolini’s work as a reflection and refraction of that action. Whence the exhibition title Reflecting Pasolini and the idea for the project, which is completed with images of the places and objects that Ruediger Glatz encountered while touring Italy in search of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s imagination. Thus, the cycle of photographs entitled On PPP rebuilds this emotional journey, juxtaposing the past with the present in Pasolini’s relationship with the city of Rome, documenting the changes but also the unchanged magic of certain marginal and now legendary suburbs.

Almost as though he wished to fill this sense of void, Glatz has imparted new depiction and new meaning to the references to the primitive painting of Piero della Francesca and Giotto in The Gospel According to Matthew and to the scenic poetry in the buildings in the Quadraro and Centocelle in such films as Mamma Roma or Accattone (The Procurer), or the shadows of Villa Feltrinelli, Mussolini’s last abode on the shores of Lake Garda that inspired Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom. From Glatz’s chiaroscuro there emerges the dimension of the street in its transverse strength as a place of storytelling to which Pasolini’s characters entrust themselves in the narrative, as the flat surfaces of the façades of the churches of San Felice da Cantalice and Don Bosco, which press in on man’s action and become a projection of his fate. The photographer has chased after the decentralised and marginal point of view in Pasolini’s idea of Rome as a stage-set city, chasing the lure of truth even in the depiction of the Tiber – a place that returns in the ritualisation of Accattone’s sacrifice in his wager with death – on whose banks there remain spectral activities and nostalgia for now lost spots for socialising. The sand, the natural landscape of the dunes in Ostia, still have the lure of a space open to instability and to transgression in the sense of capacity for criticism. The very essence of the places, of the solitary views, of nature-culture, as denaturalised spaces has thus spawned a personal atlas of myths and emotions, in an intimate literary dimension that prompted Glatz to complete his journey in the house in Bologna where the poet was born and to visit the Torre di Chia, the poet’s beloved last retreat where he wrote Petrolio.


The exhibition, promoted by Roma Culture and organised by the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, is part of the PPP100-Rome Racconta Pasolini programme promoted by Rome the Capital City’s Cultural Affairs Department in conjunction with the Cultural Activities Department.