Italian photographer Giuliano Matteucci has won the third edition of the FotoGrafia Baume & Mercier International Award, created by Zoneattive and Baume & Mercier to offer all professional photographers an opportunity to present an original quality project, created in the best possible conditions in terms of production, organisation, publication and communication, guaranteeing international prestige and visibility to the winning artist. The official announcement was made during the inauguration of the FotoGrafia Festival
at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
Born in Rome in 1976, Matteucci has worked as a photographer with many foundations and aid organisations, among them AMREF, the St Egidio Community, the Vodafone Foundation and with institutions such as the Rome Municipality, the Latium and Sardinian Regions. His photographs have appeared in some of the best known Italian and international daily newspapers and magazines. His more recent exhibitions include Lugoland Lugo di Romagna 2009, Guinea, experiencing Conakry at the Rome Museum in Trastevere/Fotografia 2008, Lazio,Terra (Tevere-Farfa) Ex-Gil /Fotografia 2007, Italian geographic/Galleria Crispi, Roma, Leggere Roma Casa delle letterature/Fotografia 2006, Bidonville cities /Fotografia 2006, Meno Trentuno-Tourism Revolution/Galleria Su Palatu 2006, and Indonesia, Meulaboh, Museum in Trastevere /Fotografia- 2005.
Inspired by the theme for this award, "Joy: visions and portrayals in syntony with this Festival, Matteucci presented a project entitled Ecclesia, West Africa, a project addressing the church in rural Africa. The word Ecclesia can mean the church as a place of worship or all the believers, hence rural African churches are not for the village only a place of worship, but are instead primarily the centre of society, place where people speak, where decisions are made, where meetings take place. In this context, Matteuccis photographic research questions the balance and the many ambivalences of these social identities. Rural churches have interacted and over the centuries become linked to the various African traditions, to the extent that they are an original synthesis that had resulted in new cultural specificities.
Giuliano Matteucci has investigated Africa for many years and has never taken shortcuts. He investigates Africas "normality", the authenticity of one of the many existing Africas. Everything is balanced in Matteuccis work; the meaning of time, the choice of colours and the use of a wide-angle lens to portray these rural churches and the believers who attend them. From the expressive perspective he chooses the wide-angle format to broaden and emphasise the context, for landscapes and for portraits, but also because he wishes to adapt to a reality, the rural one, in which buildings and horizons are by and large low and levelled out. Giuliano Matteucci comes into contact with these places and these people in a direct manner. Using his creativity he becomes one of them, he joins them, he participates, but at the same time he is welcomed, because they understand both his great involvement and his equally great discretion. This is all evident in his photographs, and in his portraits and landscapes one sees the single corpus of a profound work of art.
This was the motivation with which the jury FotoGrafias artistic director Marco Delogu, the director of Contrasto Roberto Koch and curator Jean-Luc Soret - awarded the prize to the Italian photographers project which will be exhibited at the 2010 edition of FotoGrafia.
There has been significant participation in this third edition of the FotoGrafia Baume & Mercier International Award, in spite of the fact that the announcement included a series of requirements such as the originality of the project presented, the rigour of the artistic research, expressive quality, an innovative form and content as well as its feasibility and adherence to the requirements expressed in the participation forms. Many projects were presented from both Europe and the rest of the world, all of the highest quality. This is an important testimony of the vitality of photography throughout the world and a success for FotoGrafia and for Baume & Mercier, a company that has chosen to associate its image of a modern watch-making maison to a project capable of valorising innovation and creativity.