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Telling the story of wine through photography: “Wine. Beyond the portrait” by Zenato Academy

The third act of the Veneto-based brand’s cultural project, in partnership with the Modena Visual Arts Foundation, makes its debut at Vinitaly

The story of wine, and of life around wine, through the language of art. A channel of communication and “culture production” that, in Italy, involves an increasing number of organizations. One of these is Zenato, a historic name in wine in the Veneto region, between Valpolicella and Lugana, which for years has invested in photography and supported young artists through the Zenato Academy. And, on Sunday, April 10 (at 3 pm), at Vinitaly, it will be the turn of the inauguration of the photographic exhibition “Wine. Beyond the portrait” the third act of the Zenato project, in collaboration with Fondazione Modena Arti Visive, curated by critic Luca Panaro.
“The world of art has always played an important role in our company, almost a natural extension of our way of working, of our passion that leads us to intertwine the work of winegrowers with respect for the territory and a natural drive towards beauty”, says Nadia Zenato, who, together with her brother Alberto, runs the family business, “and today more than ever we feel the need to invest in young people and in that world of culture, hard hit by the crisis, which is an expression of beauty, creativity and ingenuity. And so it is that in 2019, nine years after the publication of the first volume of our publishing series, we have decided to support the world of art in a structured way with the creation of the Zenato Academy”.
The challenge for the authors of Fmav - Scuola di Alta Formazione, was to go beyond the portrait, questioning the classic iconography traditionally associated with this genre. The portrait is the place of artistic experimentation, through the photographic image it gives rise to illusion, the staging of situations that originate in the real world with the ambition to go “beyond”, always poised between reality and fiction.
“The actions portrayed do not take place spontaneously in reality, they are planned and constructed by the photographers thanks to the willingness and collaboration of Zenato employees”, explains curator Luca Panaro. “Sometimes the protagonists of the shots are the authors of the images themselves, in other cases the subject is not human but imaginary; in all the photographs of the five projects the documented scene was specially constructed to be translated into images. No person was photographed in their daily work in the company, even when Zenato employees are portrayed with their usual working tools, their use and the settings created tend to take them to another level of significance. Every person, tool and place photographed is decontextualized, the relationship between the elements is in fact formulated differently than in reality”, Panaro concludes.
“Spreading artistic experimentation and reflection in new contexts, training the younger generations and bringing new audiences closer to art in order to establish relationships, collaborations, projects and visions are crucial objectives in our work”, says Claudia Löffelholz, director of the Fmav-Scuola di Alta Formazione, “objectives that coincide with the mission of the Zenato Academy. This is why we were delighted to accept the invitation to participate in this ambitious project, a precious opportunity for our students: a creative workshop in which artistic training and the corporate world enter into dialogue, creating stimuli and synergies, relationships and exchanges in a virtuous way”. The first experience involved students from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts on the theme of “Objects”, while the second involved students from the Berlin f/16 School of Photography on the theme of “Landscape”. The next stage will be with a school in the USA.
“With the project “Beyond” we wanted to observe, through the eyes of young photographers, the objects, landscapes and people that populate our everyday life with a different eye. A free, disenchanted gaze, moving between reality and imagination, capable of proposing new images of our reality”, concludes Nadia Zenato. The students of the project “Wine. Beyond the portrait” are: Nicola Biagetti, Greta Grasso, Paolo Munari Mandelli, Orecchie d’Asino and Bartolomeo Rossi. Each project includes a photographic exhibition and a bilingual Italian/English catalog edited by Biblos Edizioni. From May 2022 the exhibition will be set up in the Tenuta Santa Cristina of Zenato, in Peschiera del Garda.

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