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Franco Fontana

Franco Fontana was born in Modena in 1933. Color photography, from the late 1960s, finds in Franco Fontana one of its most emblematic representatives. His first solo exhibition in 1968 in Modena showcased the artist’s early studies on color, space, form, and light.

His most famous series, Landscapes, first appeared in 1970 at the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. In these works, chromatic sensitivity and the ability to reveal hidden geometries in nature merge into a sublime visual synthesis. Fontana isolates the essential elements of the natural scenery, which change with light and seasons, sustaining the harmony of the composition. This abstract analysis led to comparisons with painters like Tobey, Rothko, and Poliakoff.

In the late 1970s, a trip to the United States exposed Fontana to urban environments vastly different from his experience. Despite apparent chaos, he continued to isolate significant elements from visual stimuli. His Urban Landscape works depict cities devoid of human presence, with predominant chromatic and geometric themes. With the series Presence Absence (late 1970s to early 1980s), Fontana suggests human presence as an immaterial and unsettling shadow that interacts with architectural elements, reversing perspectives. These shadows, more eloquent than our physical presence, symbolize the unconscious and evoke Italian metaphysical painting (De Chirico, Savinio, etc.).

In his explorations of American cities, Fontana often portrays individuals accompanied by their shadows, emphasizing the unfathomable mystery of our nature. His work Caught in American Light (2001) pays homage to Edward Hopper’s painterly atmospheres and the solitude of metropolitan life.

From 2000 onwards, Fontana continued his exploration of signs and fragments typical of urban pavements, creating works like Asphalts. He participated in workshops and conferences worldwide and curated advertising campaigns for brands such as Fiat, Volvo, Volkswagen, Sony, Versace, Canon, and Kodak. His works are often produced in formats like 30 x 45 cm, 40 x 60 cm, 70 x 100 cm, and 100 x 150 cm

WORKS
PERSONAL

2014

“Full Color” – Palazzo Franchetti, Venezia
“Full Color” – Palazzo Incontro, Roma
“Vita Nova” – Palazzo Ducale, Genova

2013

“Franco Fontana” – Societé Generale Private Banking, Lugano
“Paesaggi e paesaggi” – Casa del Mantegna, MAntova
Fotografica Bogotà 2013, Bogotà
“Horizon(s)” – Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris

2012

Franco Fontana – Villa Onigo, Trevigliano
Rocca dei Borgia, Subbiaco
“La visione negata” – Teatro Carignano, Torino
Seascapes – Hotel Byron, Forte dei Marmi
“Paesaggi a confronto” – OREDARIA Arti Contemporanee, Roma

2011

La luz del paisaje – IVAM, Valencia
“Vis-à-vis. Paesaggi d’Italia / Paesaggi del mondo” – Rocca Estense, San Marino in Rio, Reggio Emilia
“City specific. Una metafisica dello sguardo” – Galleria Leggermente Fuori Fuoco, Salerno
Académie de Danse, Princesse Grace, Montecarlo
Museo regionale di Scienze naturali, Torino
“L’Anima: un paesaggio interiore” – Galleria Zabert, Torino

2010

Galleria Stefano Forni, Bologna
“Franco Fontana, Colori” – Galleria Biffi Arte- Piacenza
“Franco Fontana Antologica” – Wave Gallery, Brescia
“Cimiteri Monumentali: Staglieno” – Genova
“Paesaggi a confronto Villa Santovito” – San Menaio Garganico
“Visioni Urbane” – Galleria Dalla Pina Arte Contemporanea, Pietrasanta Colonia InFocus Galerie

2009

Galerie Hoffman, Monaco di Baviera
Cuenca Photo Espana
Fundacion Antonio Perez
Nordic Light International Festival of Photography , Kristiansund, Norway
“Sequenze Spazio-Tempo” – Photo&Contemporary, Torino

2008

“Biennale Internazionale di Fotografia” – Brescia
“Moscow Biennal” – Moscow House of Photography

2007

Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires

2006

Photo&Contemporary, Turin
Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto
Galleria Oredaria Arti Contemporanee, Rome
“20 photographs from the Cotroneo Collection” – Paris Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

2005

“Franco Fontana” – Spazio Private Bank Ersel, Torino
Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
Artef Galerie, Zurich
Magazzini del Sale, Venice

2004

Palazzo Reale, Milan
Focus Gallery, London

2003

“Route 66” – Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia
Espace Edward Steichen, Luxembourg

2002

“Route 66” – Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia
Galleria Sozzani, Milan
Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg
“Biennale Internazionale di Fotografia” – Brescia

2001

Focus Gallery, London
“Villa Remmert ” – Modern Art Gallery of Turin
Castello Aragonese, Ischia

2000

Centro Internazionale Scavi Scaligeri, Verona

1999

Photo&Contemporary, Turin
Istituto di Cultura Italiana, San Francisco

1998

Past Rays Gallery, Yokohama

1997

“Polaroids” – Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris
Galerie zur Stockeregg, Zurich

1995

Palazzo Ducale, Mantova
Photology Gallery, Milan
American House, Frankfurt

1994

Castello Visconteo, Pavia
Eslite Gallery, Taipei

1993

Galeria Railowsky, Valencia
Tour des Lépreux, Aosta

1991

Espace Photographique, Paris
Gallery Diaframma, Milan

1990

Photography Museum, Helsinki
Low Block City Hall, Hong Kong
Centro di Cultura Italiana, Stockholm
Kodak Photo Salon, Tokyo

1989

“Cento volte America” – Palazzo San Giorgio, Genoa

1988

Centrum voor Fotografie, Rotterdam

1987

Fotoskema Gallery, Praha
Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto

1986

Houston Foto Festival, Houston

1985

Galeria Foco 84, Madrid
Akademie der Kunste, Berlin
Musée Reattu, Arles

1984

Musèe Niépce, Chalon sur Saône
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas
Maison de la Culture, Reims

1983

Photographer’s Gallery, London
Canon Salon, Tokyo
Galerie Viviane Esders, Paris
Puskin Museum, Moscow

1982

Camera Obscura, Stockholm
Photo Art, Basel

1981

After Image Gallery, Dallas
CCD Galerie, Dusseldorf

1980

Focus Gallery, San Francisco
Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los Angeles
FNAC, Paris

COLLECTIVE
Non ci sono Collettive per questo artista
CATALOGS

“Sintesi” – Ed.Franco Cosimo Panini, Modena – 2019                   “Full Color” – Marsilio Editori, Venezia – 2013
“Nudi d’Autore – Fotografie di Fontana e Minkkinen” – Fond. Bottari Lattes, Monforte d’Alba – 2011
Franco Fontana – “La luz del pasaje” – IVAM, Valencia – 2011
Franco Fontana – “Paesaggi a confronto” – Ed. Artestampa, Modena – 2011
Franco Fontana – Monografia – Ed.Postcart – 2010
Franco Fontana – “Retrospettiva” – Ed. Logos, Modena – 2004
F. Fontana, M. Giacomelli – “Paesaggi” – Gribaudo Ed., Savigliano – 2003
Franco Fontana – “Fotografie 1960 – 2000” – Ed. GAM, Torino – 2001
Franco Fontana – “1960/2000” – Ed. Palazzo Ducale Pavullo nel Frignano (Mo) – 2000
Franco Fontana – “Sorpresi nella luce americana” – Ed. F.Motta, Milano – 1999
Franco Fontana – “Fotografie 1965 – 1987” – Ed. Umberto Allemandi, Torino – 1987
Franco Fontana – “Fullcolor” – Ed. Contrejour, Paris – 1983
Franco Fontana – “Meisterfotos Gestalten” – Ed. Laterna Magica, Munchen – 1983

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