ALEX MAJOLI AND PAOLO PELLEGRIN: ANOTHER CONGO
by Ladun Ogidan
From October 31 to November 30, 2015, Art Twenty One in association with Cherry Tree Arts Initiatives will present Another Congo, a photo documentary of contemporary life in the Congo by acclaimed Italian Magnum photographers Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin. Curated by Daria Birang and produced by Jonathan Roquemore, the exhibition will travel to the African continent for the first time. The exhibition was launched at ParisPhoto in Paris, France in November 2014 and traveled to the Rencontres d’Arles photography Festival in Arles, France in July 2015. Another Congo is accompanied by a limited edition book published by Aperture with a literary contribution by Alain Mabanckou.
Alex Majoli was born in 1971. At age 15, he joined the F45 Studio in Ravenna, working alongside Daniele Casadio. While studying at the Art Institute in Ravenna, he joined Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the conflict. He returned many times over the next few years, covering all major events in Kosovo and Albania. Majoli graduated from the Art Institute in 1991 and has since extensively photographed in mental hospitals all over the world and in Greece in particular where he documented the closing of an asylum of the insane on the island of Leros. Majoli made an intimate portrayal of this historical event, which was made possible by the influence of the anti-psychiatric movement led by Dr. Franco Basaglia, from Trieste, the result is in his first book Leros. (west zone 1999 / Trolley/Phaidon 2002).
Paolo Pellegrin was born in 1964 and studied architecture at L’Università La Sapienza, in Rome. After three years, he changed career directions and left to study Photography at Istituto Italiano di Fotografia in Rome, from 1986 to 1987. During these years, he met the Italian photographer Enzo Ragazzini, who became his mentor. In 2001, he became a Magnum Photos nominee and won a World Press Photo award for his work on anti-terrorism in Algeria. In the same year, he won the Leica Medal of Excellence for his work in the Balkans. He later travelled extensively, covering news events mainly in the Middle East and Africa. In 2002 he published the book Kosovo 1999-2000: The Flight of Reason and won the German Hansel-Mieth prize for a story in Bosnia. In 2003, he again travelled to cover the US-led invasion of Iraq. In 2004, he began travelling to Darfur to cover humanitarian crisis and won the Olivier Rebbot prize by the Overseas Press Club, United States, for his coverage of Darfur. He also won a World Press Photo award for his reportage on Yasser Arafat’s funeral. He created Off Broadway, a traveling multi-media project with Thomas Dworzak, Alex Majoli and Ilkka Uimonen. In 2005, he became a full member of Magnum Photos.
Images: 2012, Congo, Majoli/Pellegrin. Courtesy Magnum Photos
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February 13, 2019