The Window Is Always Wide Open Exhibition Inaugurated at PhMuseum Lab

Curated with Laura El-Tantawy, the collective show brings together personal works developed during the 2nd edition of PhMuseum’s Criticae Masterclass. You can still visit it in our Bologna gallery every Thursday from 5pm to 7pm.

Renowned American photographer and activist Nan Goldin once said: “I am not a voyeur. Voyeurs photograph through closed windows and with me the window is always wide open.” In her words, the exhibition's co-curator Laura El-Tantawy finds the strongest commonality of the works on show. “Allied through their collective visual voices, these artists, much like Nan, are not voyeurs – they are in fact orators of their own history. They take us into their home and invite us to sit down. Here we encounter them as infants, decedents, grown ups, survivors, witnesses and child-bearers”.

Every work is an exploration of a peculiar, personal experience. Michaela Nagyidaiová delves into her grandmother's forced migration from Greece, her homeland, as a child. DMT narrates post-traumatic stress disorder as lived by their family members. Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier digs in the transmission of her mother’s rich, troubled, and exiled family history in Egypt. Moa Nyberg empirically visualizes post-seasonal depression; Angela Crosti provides an alternative, uncomfortable perspective on motherhood; Lisa Winner deepens into skin tone discrimination within American culture; Paula Faraco looks at femicide and its relationship with masculinity in Brazil, while Maryam Al-Khasawneh narrates her body as an archive of pain and history she lives through as an Arab. Last, Amanda Witt repurposes her family’s home-movies into a tool to explore the way we construct our sense of self.

By drawing them together, singular narratives become collective, and the personal intersects the political. This is not only the outcome of a curatorial path: it is the organic consequence of discussing one’s own work with others throughout 8 months. “The exhibition brings together artists from different parts of the world and explores their homelands, families, roots or the spaces they inhabit. It makes me very happy to be a part of this journey that allowed me to come to Bologna, where I got to meet the other artists and enjoy the opening of the show in the beautiful PhMuseum Lab space”, comments alumni Michaela Nagyidaiová. Meeting in person was indeed the culmination of a path began online, one year prior thanks to the Criticae Documentary Photography Masterclass led by Laura El-Tantawy. Group discussions, individual sessions, seminars and studio visits brought the students to the final result you can now visit in our gallery.

“Preparing and attending the show in Bologna has been a challenging but rewarding experience”, says Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier. “It felt really wonderful to share a space as PhMuseum Lab with the beautiful works of talented artists". "The entire process unfolded smoothly", comments Angela Crosti, "thanks to the collaborative exchanges where artists could openly shared their visions. Under the skilful guidance of Laura and the expert team at PhMuseum, these ideas were beautifully refined. The diverse array of projects presented a challenge for the curatorial team, yet they produced a cohesive and profoundly evocative show. The resulting exhibition stands as a testament of their ability to armonise different artistic voices into a singular and impactful narrative". “The true gift that came out of this experience was being able to watch our projects come to life within this exhibition. The preparation, design and hard work of my peers and the PhMuseum team blew me away”, adds Amanda Witt.

It is still possible to visit The Window is Always Wide Open every Thursday from 5 to 7pm. From 1 to 4 February, 4-7 pm the show will be open as part of Art City, the off circuit of Arte Fiera.

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Works on show: Transient Ties by Michaela Nagyidaiová, Holyday by DMT, We Are What They Remember by Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier, Four Weeks by Moa Nyberg, You Are Everything To Me by Angela Crosti, Colorism in America by Lisa Winner, What is Love? by Paula Faraco, My Body Cries Tears of Beauty by Maryam Al-Khasawneh, In Medias Res by Amanda Witt.

The Window is Always Wide Open is on show at PhMuseum Lab, Via Paolo Fabbri 10/2a, Bologna, Italy

14 December 2023 - 4 February 2024

Every Thursday from 5pm to 7pm | Monday-Wednesday by appointment only

Art City Special Opening: 1-2-3-4 February from 4pm to 7pm

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All images © Rosa Lacavalla, PhMuseum

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The PhMuseum Criticae Online Masterclass is a 8-month online masterclass on Documentary Photography, part of PhMuseum’s education program along with Folio, Curae, and Mediae. In the 2022/23 edition, students worked under the instruction of British-Egyptian documentary photographer Laura El-Tantawy.

Laura El-Tantawy (born in Ronskwood, 1980) is an Anglo-Egyptian photographer, bookmaker, and educator based in London and Cairo. Her projects delve into the concepts of home and belonging, addressing her work from a social and environmental perspective inspired by her transatlantic background. Her visual explorations often intertwine moving images, sounds, and personal narratives, marked by the artist's lyrical gaze on reality.

PhMuseum Lab, founded in 2020, is a multi-purpose project that seeks to create a place to gather and learn, so as to share the online experience of the PhMuseum and stimulate a dialogue between digital opportunities and physical interactions. It pursues the same mission, which is that of working to discover, educate, and promote talented photographers whilst spreading visual culture. Follow PhMuseum Lab on Instagram.

We Are What They Remember by Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier
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We Are What They Remember by Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier

Detail from Holyday by DMT
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Detail from Holyday by DMT

Transient Ties by Michaela Nagyidaiová
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Transient Ties by Michaela Nagyidaiová

Still from My Body Cries Tears of Beauty by Maryam Al-Khasawneh
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Still from My Body Cries Tears of Beauty by Maryam Al-Khasawneh

Detail from Holyday by DMT
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Detail from Holyday by DMT

View of Four Weeks a Year by Moa Nyberg and You Are Everything To Me by Angela Crosti
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View of Four Weeks a Year by Moa Nyberg and You Are Everything To Me by Angela Crosti

Transient Ties by Michaela Nagyidaiová
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Transient Ties by Michaela Nagyidaiová

View of What is Love? by Paula Faraco and In Medias Res by Amanda Witt
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View of What is Love? by Paula Faraco and In Medias Res by Amanda Witt

Detail of Colorism in America by Lisa Winner
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Detail of Colorism in America by Lisa Winner

The Window Is Always Wide Open Exhibition Inaugurated at PhMuseum Lab
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Angela Crosti, Moa Nyberg, Sandra Guldemann Duchatellier, Michaela Nagyidaiová and Laura El-Tantawy during the opening at PhMuseum Lab

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