Embassy of Switzerland to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan in cooperation with Eurasian Cultural Alliance with financial support of Kazzinc Ltd presents The Skin of the Cities, The Skin of the Citizens exhibition featuring a selection of works by a famous Swiss photographer Gian Paolo Minelli. The photographs were taken in Buenos Aires, Paris, Brno and Ust-Kamenogorsk, which Jean Paolo Minelli visited in October, 2014. He was invited to Kazakhstan by Kazzinc Ltd.
Gian Paolo Minelli was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He has lived in Buenos Aires since 1999. His photographs have been included in more than 75 collective and individual exhibitions all over the world. Among other prizes, he has won one of the Swiss Art Awards (2008) and an honorable mention from the jury at the 10th edition of the Federico Jorge Klemm prize for Visual Arts (Buenos Aires, 2006). He has also published several books of his work.
The Skin of the Cities, The Skin of the Citizens coincides with signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mayor of Lugano, Mr. Marco Borradori, and the Akim of Almaty, Mr. Bauyrzhan Baibek, on May 17, 2016. "With this Memorandum of Understanding, the two cities aim to build a global cooperation at the municipal level aimed at fostering the flourishing relationship and developing the mutually fruitful cooperation in trade, economy, science, technology, as well as promoting the cultural understanding on a long-term stable basis and create favorable conditions for business relations between the two cities," said Mauro Reina, Ambassador of Switzerland to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
"Minelli was raised in Chiasso, in the Swiss canton of Ticino, but has lived and worked for some years mainly in Buenos Aires. The photographs mostly depict marginalized areas of Buenos Aires - the city's poorest quarters. They are not beautiful. Brutal mass architecture, crude blocks of concrete, scarred and pitted. For what is special in Minelli's work is that it goes beyond the poetry of the brutal, the aestheticization of the ugly. People live on these streets and in these concrete bunkers. Gian Paolo Minelli knows them, has befriended them. He played a key role in setting up the culture center in the barrio," noted Tobia Bezzola, director Museum Folkwang, Essen. "Tellingly, he doesn't take portraits of these people. Instead, he erects his tripod and hands over the self-timer to his "subjects". They are invited to take pictures of themselves, to show us how they see themselves and the world around them. The photographs were taken in thematic series, often over an extended period. Until now, they have mostly been exhibited and published separately; indeed, many are being shown here for the first time. Here, photography is neither mere reporting of facts, nor style-obsessed gimmickry. Architectural photography becomes a social document, and social reportage becomes an artistic project."