Behind every handcrafted item lies passion, skill, dexterity and many hours of dedicated effort, as Italian photographer Susanna Pozzoli discovered when she spent time in 21 artisanal workshops in Venice and Veneto:
• Master glass artisans begin work at 4am in summer in order to withstand the heat of the workshop, which cannot be air conditioned because glass needs to cool slowly in natural conditions.
• Gondola-makers customise boats for their owners, adjusting them according to the gondolier’s height and weight.
• Only a few master artisans still make gold leaf by hand, an arduous process involving pounding pure gold until it is 0.02 microns thick, several thousand times thinner than paper.
Susanna Pozzoli, photographer, artist and artisan, had the privilege of entering 21 workshops in Venice and the Veneto region for the Homo Faber exhibit Venetian Way.
Craftspeople working alone, intimate workshops and factories opened their doors to the photographer so she could capture precious moments during the process of making glass, brocade, costumes, lace, gondolas, masks, metal and jewellery sculptures, shoes, ceramics, capes, handmade books, furniture, wood sculptures and wool and silk textile (see full list, below). The selected workshops demonstrate a diverse array of skills, techniques and talents, yet comprise just a sample of the enormous artisanal richness in the Veneto region.
It was important to Pozzoli to use analogue rather than digital photography since working with film requires the same careful, precise, disciplined approach as that of the artisans she photographed. With this empathy and respect for the process of creation, Pozzoli captured these exceptional masters at work, focusing on their gestures and processes. The resulting collection of photographs is a poem in pictures, which invites visitors to imagine the moments just before and just after the instant portrayed. “Each picture is a pause between gestures. They challenge the viewer to be attentive, to take their time, and to open their imagination,” Pozzoli says.
This photographic ode to fine craftsmanship depicts the passion, dedication and perseverance that goes into the creation of exquisite objects in workshops all over Veneto. “The exhibit is not a documentary,” Denis Curti, Artistic Director at Tre Oci and co-curator of the exhibit, explains. “It is a particular point of view, a very specific perspective.”
“Venetian Way is not about the beauty of the final object… It is about the beauty of loving the work itself.” – Susanna Pozzoli
Venetian Way is one of 16 exhibition spaces that make up Homo Faber, a major new exhibition celebrating European craftsmanship, organized by the Michelangelo Foundation.
Notes for editors
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Free admission upon registration at homofaberevent.com
Homo Faber is the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to the very best in European craftsmanship. Organized by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. homofaberevent.com
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, nonprofit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that fine craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries. michelangelofoundation.org
Born in the north of Italy, Susanna Pozzoli graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from Bergamo University and holds a Master’s Degree (DEA) in Multimedia from the Sorbonne. She studied photography in Paris and began to show and publish her work beginning in 2000. Selected for many artist-in-residency and international programmes, her photography and multimedia work has been presented in numerous solo shows in Italy and abroad, including an acclaimed project documenting master artisans in Korea. susannapozzoli.com
Venetian Way is curated by Denis Curti, Artistic Director of Civita Tre Venezie and former Artistic Director of the Italian Foundation for Photography and the International Biennial of Photography of Turin.
For Venetian Way, Pozzoli visited the following artisanal workshops:
Vetreria Anfora, Murano – creative glasswork
Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, Venice – brocade
Nicolao Atelier Sartoria Teatrale, Venice – theatre tailoring
Lucia Costantini, Burano – traditional lace
Domenico Tramontin e Figli, Venice – gondolas
La Bottega dei Mascareri, Venice – papier mâché masks
Fornace Orsoni, Venice – mosaic tiles
Giampaolo Babetto, Arquà Petrarca – artistic jewellery
Ballin, Fiesso d’Artico – shoemaking
Bonotto, Molvena – fine fabrics
Ceramiche Artistiche 3B, Nove – ceramics
Este Ceramiche Porcellane, Este – ceramics and painted porcelain
Tabarrificio Trevisano, Mogliano Veneto – tailoring (Venetian capes)
Tipoteca Italiana, Cornuda – typography
Colophonarte, Belluno – limited edition artists' books
Morelato, Salizzole – wood furniture
Bruno Barbon Antiquariato, Venice – wood inlay
Mario Berta Battiloro, Venice – gold leaf
Fonderia Artistica Valese, Venice – foundry for metalwork
Fallani Venezia, Venice – silk screen printing
Maglifico Miles, Vicenza – knitwear