Fondazione Prada Osservatorio
Milan, Italy
21 December 2016–12 March 2017

“Give Me Yesterday,” curated by Francesco Zanot, will inaugurate the program of Osservatorio, Fondazione Prada’s new exhibition space located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and dedicated to photography and visual languages.

The show includes works by 14 Italian and international artists (Melanie Bonajo, Kenta Cobayashi, Tomé Duarte, Irene Fenara, Lebohang Kganye, Vendula Knopová, Leigh Ledare, Wen Ling, Ryan McGinley, Izumi Miyazaki, Joanna Piotrowska, Greg Reynolds, Antonio Rovaldi, Maurice van Es), and explores the use of photography as a personal diary over a period of time ranging from the early 2000s through today.

In a context characterized by the pervasive presence of photography devices and an uninterrupted circulation of images produced and shared through digital platforms, a generation of young artists has transformed the photographic diary into an instrument to focus on their own daily lives and intimate, personal rituals. Familiar with work by artists such as Nan Goldin and Larry Clark in the United States, or Richard Billingham and Wolfgang Tillmans in Europe, the photographers presented in “Give Me Yesterday” turn the immediacy and spontaneity of documentary style into an extreme control over the gaze of those who observe and are observed. This creates a new diary in which instant photography is mixed with exhibition photography, imitating the repetitive cataloguing of the internet and employing the performative component of images to affirm individual or collective identities.

Extending across the fifth and sixth floors of one of the Galleria’s main buildings, Osservatorio is located above the central octagon, at the level of the glass and iron dome that covers the arcades, realized by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1867. The spaces, rebuilt after the Second World War after downtown Milan was bombed in 1943, have now been fully restored, providing an 800-square-meter exhibition space that develops across two levels.