Curated by: Cristiana Perrella
After Subject Nomade - collective exhibition of 2019 in which her images, together with those of four other Italian photographers, tackled the theme of female identity between the 60s and the 80s - Marialba Russo returns from 8 May to 6 June 2021 at the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato with Cult Fiction, a solo exhibition that exhibits, for the first time, the famous photographic series dedicated to the posters of the red light films that appeared in the streets of Naples and Aversa between March 1978 and December 1980, the years of the opening in our country of the first specialized cinemas and the consequent boom of the genre.
A new phenomenon for Italy in those years, especially in its manifestly public character, no longer hidden, of which Cult Fiction represents the testimony.
With obstinate curiosity and collecting spirit, almost perfecting a new genre in the history of photography, Marialba Russo documents what Goffredo Fofi defines "the explosion of a vitality now perverse, but still such, in the history of popular culture [...] which had its most varied and wild expression in the cinema ”. The series describes an all-male cinema - with the exception of a few exceptions such as that of director Giuliana Gamba - which represents the woman's body in the public space through often grotesque posters with almost comic titles.
Presenting over 60 of the most significant shots of the series, the exhibition curated by Cristiana Perrella reproduces in its installation the ephemeral matter and the strong impact of street advertising, with images glued directly to the wall, fully restoring the strength of a work that it speaks to us, on the one hand, of the drive for sexual liberation of those years, but on the other also of a depiction of the highly commodified woman's body.
The cultural, political and social revolution of the seventies, which Marialba Russo (Naples, 1947) has documented with an anthropological gaze in many of its manifestations, ends in fact by placing the explicit representation of bodies and sexuality at the center of a new market, favoring the development of a "genre cinema" which, if it reveals the hypocrisies and archaisms of Italian society, does not, however, undermine the usual power relations.