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Exhibition Testifies to an Unknown Period in Stanley Kubrick's Career
Stanley Kubrick, a tale of a shoe-shine boy, 1947.
MILAN.- The exhibition reveals an unknown period of Stanley Kubrick’s career. Through July 4th 2010, the Palazzo della Ragione of Milan hosts 300 photos, many of which are unpublished and printed from the original negatives, taken by Stanley Kubrick from 1945 up to 1950 when, aged 17, was hired by the American magazine Look.

The exhibition is curated by Rainer Crone and it has been realized thanks to the City of Milan’s Councillor for Culture e to GIUNTI arte mostre musei, in collaboration with the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. and the Museum of the City of New York (where 20,000 negatives by Stanley Kubrick are stored).

The pictures shown testify the ability of the artist to witness everyday life in America back in those days, through famous people’s life like Rocky Graziano’s and Montgomery Clift’s as well as the ironical frames of New York that was becoming the new world capital and Dixieland musicians’ vivacity.

Alongside with chess, photography is revealed as one of Kubrick’s main passions, activity inherited from his father and that he started as a teenager and terminated after only five years.

The first picture was published on June 26th, 1945 and portraits a newsvendor reacting to the death of Franklin D Roosevelt. A few months later, Look hired Kubrick as a photo reporter: at 17, he was the youngest photographer on the magazine's staff.

The Look Method, which took the form of a narrative by episodes, did not meet with the approval of leading contemporary photojournalists. The Magazine’s owners wanted a constant follow-up of the characters portrayed in every action. This intruding style was fascinating for Kubrick who loved to build up a story starting from those images. In order to obtain a natural posture, Kubrick would remain unseen hiding his camera’s wire below his jacket and pushing the shutter using a device hidden in his hand.

In the indoor shootings, he would try to use natural light as much as possible working on the exposure time and on the diaphragm opening time. Most part of his aesthetic ability shown in his films was already present in his work of those days. Kubrick is able to give the spectator the ability to personally interpret the psychological features of those appearing in the pictures.

“In this way, the first pictures taken by Stanley Kubrick see the light right after WW2 and they not only represent an era but they astonish for their surprising deepness. In this way, they cannot be simply considered as visual archives of the joie de vivre of a young and full of humour artist but they represent a conscious attempt to experiment the resources given by the technical mean with its ability to represent and perceive reality. This aspect will be maintained along the years in all Kubrick’s works.”

An important step as the ambiguity of images and movies are the core of post-war cinema thus called modern and of which Kubrick is one unquestioned maestro.

The exhibition is divided in two parts.

The first one (with 7 sections) is introduced by Icone, in which the symbolic images of the stories framed by the artist are presented.

Portugal – a post-war trip made by two Americans.

Crimes – the arrest of two criminals, portraying the policemen activity, their strategy and their tricks in order to make the arrest.

Betsy Furstenberg – a section entirely dedicated to the woman who was one of New York’s most popular artist of those years, opposed to the young “shoe shine” standing on the street corners.

Columbia University and Campus Mooseheart, Illinois – the two final sections. The first site being where the American élite was being formed; the second one being a war orphanage that will form America’s future middle class.

The second part focuses on Montgomery Clift in his house and Rocky Graziano in the private and public appearances of this modern hero. New Orleans Dixieland musicians’ epic is then portrayed at the end of this section.

Palazzo della Ragione of Milan | Stanley Kubrick | Rainer Crone |




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