A Personal and Public Tool: for ‘Daughters’ – Sonia Lenzi

Artphilein Library

Feb. 13th – Jul. 28th 2023

Books can take you in another dimension and they have always been in my life.
You can take them with you and read or look at them in a park, under the shadow of a tree or in bed, and they keep you company in your domestic space. They are portable and public objects and holding and feeling them in your hands is a pleasure. Sometimes you can use them as manifestos or exhibit themselves. Nowadays they are also democratic objects as they are often affordable, collectable and can travel easier than exhibitions.
I believe photography works primarily in a context, such is an album or a book, where pictures can dialogue with each other in that specific ‘portable’, private, but also public space.

The act of publishing had also a specific connotation for women, in the XIX century and early XX century, as it was connected to that struggle to be part of society and have equal opportunities. Then it was a woman to publish the first photobook: Anna Atkins’ three volume "Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843-1853)" beautiful cyanotypes images for scientific study and learning.

It was difficult to select the books for this exhibition, but in the end I concentrated in books that I feel part of my experience on one side, and in books that are specifically related to environment, family or violence, in a broader sense, on the other side, as these are the themes discussed with Artphilein during the process that lead to the publication of my last book, ‘Looking for My Daughters. A book of love and worries’. Some of them are strictly related to feminism, especially 1970s feminism, the one of my mother generation, and others I suggested the Women Centre in Bologna, my hometown, to acquire, as I thought they were relevant for the feminist discourse.

The books I chose as part of my experience have been given to me by other photographers I am close to or are part of my collection or have influenced my practice and approach to photography: this could be an endless list and I had to confine this anyway to the ones who are actually part of my library or Artphilein library. All of them are books I wish could be seen and appreciated by younger generations.

Curator Sonia Lenzi
Website artphilein.org
Address via Ferruccio Pelli 13, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

28 editions on edcat featured in this exhibition

Belgravia by Karen Knorr
Artists’ Book
Rachel, Monique by Sophie Calle
Exhibition Catalogue
Another Water by Roni Horn
(2nd ed.)