Events, experiences and guided tours

Ugo Borsatti's Foto Omnia. Scatti in Comune

from December 2 2022 to February 26 2023

In the Selva Hall of Palazzo Gopcevich, a photographic exhibition narrates Trieste through the photographs of Ugo Borsatti
Ugo Borsatti's Foto Omnia. Scatti in Comune
The exhibition was conceived and realised by the Tourism Promotion, Museums, Cultural and Sporting Events Service of the Municipality of Trieste and has been curated by Claudia Colecchia, head of the Photographic Library and the Library of Civic Museums of History and Art, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Foto Omnia photographic studio, which is still active today.

Ugo Borsatti's Foto Omnia archive, purchased by the CRTrieste Foundation and housed in the Photo Library of the Civic Museums of History and Art, consists of 350,000 negatives, mainly on film. The preservation, cataloguing, and valorisation activities performed by the Photo Library have made it possible to examine the photographer's archive in its entirety, revealing the narrative power of the photographs he shot.

Two hundred photos are on display to the public, including some for the first time: portraits of well-known or unknown personalities, public and private events, the most important tourist sites in Trieste, the microcosm of the neighbourhood/environment where Ugo Borsatti lived and worked. This makes it possible to look at/admire the images of the last years of the Allied military government with the tragic days of November 1953 flanked by the vibrant images of Italy's return to Trieste in 1954.

Borsatti describes the diversified world of labour, including municipal work. Protagonists are often the workers themselves, dynamically portrayed in open or closed spaces, in constant dialogue with their surroundings, whether landscape, machinery, or structures. Ponterosso bridge and its canal offer a scenic backdrop of exceptional emotion: here, sellers of flowers and grains, of trinkets, and the venderigole (female street vendors of fruit and vegetables) offer their goods in every season. Moreover, the photographer's eye does not overlook the tragedy of the exiled with images of strong emotional impact documenting the uprooting and bewilderment of refugees.

Equally intense and interesting are the reportages devoted to the departure of emigrants by land or sea, mostly along routes to Australia or America. Current events are by no means neglected. The photo of the death of a wagon maker has been featured by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He captured and made iconic the last catch at the Tonnara di Santa Croce (a traditional fishing installation for catching tuna).

A keen observer, Borsatti documents leisure time marked by festivals and rituals that the community recognises as part of its cultural heritage, including, the Carnival, the Sardella Festival, the Grape Festival, the Karst Weddings, and the Festival of San Nicolò.

He also documents the intense cultural activity that characterises the worlds of film, television, theatre, art, and literature, often for the benefit of the media. Leisure time in Trieste naturally goes hand in hand with a love for the sea, which is also well-documented in unexpected seasons.

The photos dedicated to sport represent another extraordinary treasure chest documenting the passion for sport of both the photographer and the people of Trieste. Borsatti, an enthusiastic rugby player, has a great interest in all sports, including football, the Sunday ritual of choice. The author's favourite photograph captures the "Kiss" between the American soldier Jim Swaim and the Triestine woman Graziella Cirrincione at the moment the allied troops leave Trieste in 1954: a picture worth a thousand words!

The photo album unfolding in the rooms of Palazzo Gopcevich represents a significant part of this city's recent history.
The careful exploration of events, seemingly frozen for a moment despite the passage of time, reveals the master photographer's ability to deal with different subjects and languages with an always personal, authentically unmistakable touch.