Democracy in the eye of the beholder

25 January > 2 February 2020

a project curated by Marco Berti and Francesca Pappalardo | Azienda Speciale Palaexpo

with Chiara Capodici | Leporello

and with the cooperation of Niccolò Fano and Alessandro Imbriaco

Democracy in the Eye of the Beholder takes the shape of a full programme of events animated by the community working in the field of photography at the national level to mark the return to Rome of the lens of photographer Gabriele Basilico, who made such a deep mark in recounting the identity of the capital and of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in particular. His gentle, democratic gaze, capable of both identifying in the urban space and of portraying in photographs the coexistence of elements otherwise discordant by period and environment, ranging from factories to archaeological remains, prompted us to bring together a selection of outstanding witnesses around the exhibition for a collective debate on the language of photography and its ability to define the outlines of contemporary living.

Over forty of the most prestigious personalities working in the field of photography – curators, photo editors, journalists, photographers, publishers, scholars and academics – take turns in a rich, multi-faceted programme of conversations taking their cue from an analysis of Gabriele Basilico's epxerience to explore all the possible horizons of photography, from wartime narrative to comic snigger via the landscape and investigative reporting; and of round-table debates among professionals in the field, called on to discuss their current work in terms of projects, education and curating both amongst themselves and in public in order to share their methods and their goals. Two days are set aside entirely for the students of Rome's schools and institutes with specialisation courses in photography, involving them in a series of seminars analysing the chief aspects of documentary photographic production: the start of an educational pathway that they will subsequently develop in their respective institutes and that will wind up with a return to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni for a workshop designed to document the palazzo's spaces in relation to the city. The programme is brought to a close by a cycle of screenings showing documentaries devoted to significant experiences in the photographic field and, starting 19 March, by a film retrospective entitled The City Through a Lens recounting the modern city through the poetic gaze of such great masters of Italian cinema as Antonioni, Fellini and Visconti.


Our gratitude for their cooperation on the seminars goes to: Accademia di Belle arti di Roma, Centro Romano di Fotografia e Cinema, Centro Sperimentale di Fotografia Adams, IED Roma, ISFCI - Institute of Photography, Officine Fotografiche – Roma, REA Academy, RUFA - Rome University of Fine Arts


Our gratitude for the films goes to: Christian Frei Filmproduktion, Lucky Red, Magnolia Pictures, Mercury Films, Officine UBU, Wanted




Palazzo delle Esposizioni – Sale Cinema e Auditorium

Admission via the steps in Via Milano 9A, Rome


Places for conversations, round tables and screenings will be assigned from one hour before the start of each event. Reservations may be made by membership card holders only.  There will no further admission once the event has started.

Places in the seminars are reserved for students from schools and higher education institutes offering a specialist course in photographing Rome, by reservation only.


January 25, 2020 with Roberta Valtorta and Francesco Moschini, moderated by Filippo Maggia
January 25, 2020 with Roberto Koch and Nicolò Degiorgis, moderated by Giovanna Calvenzi
January 25, 2020 documentary
January 26, 2020 with Marco Damilano, Francesca Mannocchi and Alessio Romenzi, moderated by Renata Ferri