The collection is made up of works by the well-known artist given in trust to the museum by Paolo Vampa, collector and active promoter of his work since the end of the sixties, and his wife Cristina Gonella: a highly representative selection of Gioli’s work from the seventies, eighties and nineties, with regard both to the completeness of the themes (all the ones of which the artist has always been most fond: the female and male nude, the portrait and self-portrait, still life and landscape) and to the variety of techniques employed. All the works are one-off pieces, the techniques rare, in many cases unrepeatable, and of great interest for the high degree of experimentation involved, with the formats of the works in many cases defined by the photographer himself, outside the industry standards.
Paolo Gioli (Sarzano di Rovigo, 1942) belongs to the generation of artists that, under the impetus of the neo-avant-gardes in the sixties and seventies, in Europe as well as the US, chose photography, film and video as new tools with which to gauge and renew the codes of art. In particular, he was responsible for the rediscovery of the pinhole camera as a fundamental principle of photography, the use of homemade cameras or found objects utilized as cameras, alternative and creative uses of Polaroid and Cibachrome film and the complete reinvention of the technique of photo-finish photography. These were all technical developments aimed at the study of line, light, movement and color, of the ambiguous and profound relationship between the real and the imaginary.
In the second half of the sixties, after starting out as a painter in Venice and a period in New York, and after working with lithography and serigraphy as well, he developed a strong interest in cinema and photography that was never to leave him. From 1969 to 1975 he lived in Rome, from 1976 to 1981 in Milan and then at Rovigo and Lendinara di Rovigo. He has exhibited his many photographic research projects (Polaroid stenopeiche, 1978-81; Nudi telati, 1979; Omaggio a Hippolyte Bayard, 1981; Cameron Obscura, 1981; Eakins/Marey l’uomo scomposto, 1982; Omaggio a Niépce, 1983-89; Natura Obscura, 1986-87; Autoanatomie, 1987; Volti attraverso, 1987-2002; Maschere, 1988-90; Volto più linea, 1994; Sconosciuti, 1994; Torsi luminescenti, 1997; Confinati, 1998-99) and shown his films (collected in 2006 in a box set of DVDs released by Rarovideo) at important public venues in Italy and abroad (Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica-Calcografia, Rome; Musée Réattu, Arles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Palazzo Fortuny, Venice; Museo di Storia della Fotografia Fratelli Alinari, Florence; Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna; MART, Rovereto; Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; Musée des Beaux Arts, Montreal; Museum of Photography, Helsinki; Musée Marey, Beaune; Stadtmuseum, Munich; Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Arts, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello Balsamo-Milan) which have all acquired his work.