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"Blessed photos!" writes Carme lo Bene in his autobiography\, remembering the incident that took place dur ing a performance of Cristo 63\, for which he was tried for indece nt exposure and acquitted thanks to the photographs taken by Claudio Abate.

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The Palazzo delle Esposizioni has de cided to mark the tenth anniversary of Bene's death with a tribute\, to the copious archive of photographs taken by Claudio Abate of this key figure i n contemporary Italian theatre. The most incisive images have been included in the show\, once more in a somehow redemptive capacity given that\, for the most part\, they remain the only known visual testimony of certain work s.

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Claudio Abate and Carmelo Bene met very young\, in 1959\, in one of the few hangouts offered by Rome's nightl ife at the time. Bene had already directed a number of significant producti ons\, all of which had somehow fulfilled the promise of that happy and radi cal period in theatre that elevated it during the course of the Sixties int o an exemplary art form. Abate was already within the art milieu\, photogra phing sculptors and painters\, particularly those young artists that were o n the threshold of challenging the very techniques and concept of tradition al art. He therefore immediately discerned the exceptional nature of Bene's theatre and became his stage photographer. Over a period of ten years\, fr om 1963 to 1973\, Abate took all the shots of nine productions in Rome\, bo th for the performances and backstage - Cristo 63\, Salomè da e di Oscar Wilde\, Faust o Margherita\, Pinocchio '66\, Il Rosa e il Nero\, Nostra Signora dei Turchi\, S alvatore Giuliano\, Arden of Feversham\, Don Chisciotte\, as well as the stills for the feature film Salomè.

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All the images on display have been subjected to a meticulous restoration process. The black and white images were hand p rinted from negatives onto baryta-coated silver gelatin paper (except for t he negatives for Cristo 63\, which were confiscated by the judicia ry). The colour images are digital prints taken from slides using an ink-je t printer onto baryta-coated paper. The photographs have been grouped accor ding to the production for which they were taken and are ordered chronologi cally. Each group is preceded by a text written by Francesca Rachele Oppedi sano introducing the visitor to the themes developed within each dramatisat ion and\, in some cases\, to episodes that accompanied it or to its recepti on by critics. The captions list the actors by name\, with the part they pl ayed in brackets\, proceeding from left to right and omitting the names of those that we have unfortunately not been able to identify. Where the name of the character has been omitted\, this is because - as often happened in Bene's productions - it was impossible to establish it as an individual and clear-cut role.

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Taken as a whole\, t hese images offer a meaningful insight into the inner workings of the theat re of Bene With exemplary clarity - as is characteristic of Abate's work - the shots have captured both figures and objects in relation to the stage. They enable us to witness some of the famous inventions that Bene introduce d in various aspects of his work such as the lighting\, the importance he g ave to costumes\, elements of makeup such as his recurring use of mosaic ma sks\, as well as the on stage presence of props such as beds\, mannequins a nd frames. But above all\, as Jean-Paul Manganaro has written in the catalo gue\, these shots are evidence of those particular moments in which Carmelo Bene grasped the power of his own decisions on stage\, those decisions tha t were destined to be reused time and time again\, in a constantly evolving programme of development and research.

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The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Skira\, with e ntries by Jean-Paul Manganaro\, Daniela Lancioni and Francesca Rachele Oppe disano.

DTEND:20130203 DTSTAMP:20140421T125511 DTSTART:20121204 GEO:41.8996582;12.491572 LOCATION:Palazzo delle Esposizioni\,Via Nazionale\, 194 \nRoma\, 00184 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Blessed photos! Carmelo Bene seen by Claudio Abate \, Claudio Abate UID:258164 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR