Costa Cruises is celebrating its 70th anniversary in Genoa with a special project in collaboration with an exceptional partner: Oliviero Toscani.
An exhibition dedicated to happiness by the celebrated Italian photographer is due to open on 6 July this year at the Palazzo Ducale, in Genoa, under the patronage of the Liguria Region and Genoa City Council. The title of the exhibition is "Oliviero Toscani. Ladro di Felicità²" (Happiness² Thief), as it consists of over 100 photographs "stolen" by Toscani on board the Costa Pacifica, during a week-long cruise in the Caribbean that began on 31 March, the exact day on which Costa, whose story began on 31 March 1948 with the first sailing by the passenger ship "Anna C", celebrated its birthday. The project is supported by Canon Italia as a digital imaging partner.
The theme of the photographs is the happiness experienced by guests travelling on Costa ships. As the title of the exhibition suggests, they were taken to capture spontaneous and natural emotions. "It is said that in theatre, cinema or television, it is easier to make people cry than laugh. The same thing is true of photography, it is easier to photograph horrors, wars, famines, unhappiness than peace, love, harmony, happiness! Having Happiness as a theme to photograph is a great privilege and a great challenge" - said Oliviero Toscani.
"Since 1948, the year of Costa's foundation, many things have changed, but we continue to work with a single goal: to make our guests happy" - commented Luca Casaura, Costa Cruises Senior Vice President Global & Strategic Marketing - "Which is why we thought of dedicating an exhibition to happiness to celebrate our 70th anniversary, entrusting ourselves to a master of photography like Oliviero Toscani, who has been able to capture the true essence of a Costa cruise. It is a very special project we wanted to give to Genoa, our city, thanks to the collaboration with local institutions".
The "Oliviero Toscani. Ladro di Felicità²" exhibition, with free admission, will remain on display at the Palazzo Ducale until 14 October. It will be curated by Flavio Arensi, with a unique installation by Peter Bottazzi creating an engaging and immersive experience for visitors. The exhibition catalogue, published by Mondadori Electa, will include a preface by the Italian art critic Philippe Daverio.
Flavio Arensi, curator of the exhibition said: "There is nothing more poetic than a thief who can steal glances and capture the emotion of a fleeting event that is over in an instant because it's fully contained in the expressiveness of the moment. As just such a thief, Oliviero Toscani wandered among the cruise guests, with all due care and respect for people who are busy taking time out of their lives to relax with their family, friends and loved ones. The resulting exhibition is a string of feelings, with no sentimentality, where happiness is found in the sharing of a relationship. With an ability to see situations beyond the portraits of the protagonists, Toscani illustrates a space that is intimate whilst also making it accessible to everyone. Over one hundred photographs, of which Toscani is both a director and a consumer, depicting a journey among people but also providing a key to Toscani's photography, highlighting the novelty of his language which, from advertising to social campaigns, manages to use photography not as a technical means of expression but as a representation of life. A thief yes, but a thief who always knows how to give dignity and a strong foundation to every image, because it isn't enough to represent the world, we also need to present it".
Starting in May, a selection of 10 photos taken by Oliviero Toscani will be on display for the first time on board Costa ships, becoming a real "floating exhibition" that will travel around the world. The photos will be printed on large canvases and will literally float in the atrium of each ship, creating a vertical layout of great visual impact.
The Palazzo Ducale exhibition will also include a number of images taken by guests of the Costa Pacifica who took part in a series of thematic workshops conducted by Toscani and his associates during their stay on board, with the contribution of a Canon Academy teacher. 50 cameras from the EOS range were made available to guests to put the theoretical lessons into practice with field photography sessions.
"A true master reveals himself in his ability to form disciples. This strange adventure happened to Oliviero: he became a sailor just as he stepped on the bridge of the Costa Pacifica even though he was born in Milan not too long earlier. However, the sailor remained the photographer Oliviero. He spread out his professional passion to the guests: they all started photographing. He became their guru. In fact, life on board, being unfamiliar to everyday life, leads to a psychological dimension of absolute mental freedom, the most suitable for traveling not only on water but also in one's own daydreams. So, the photographs of the disciples mixed with those of the teacher in a strange emotional authenticity: it is not at all easy to distinguish them from each other at first sight. Then the critical eye begins its investigation path and rediscovers the differences, but sharing the same celebration of happiness, that contagious which in turn leads us, when seeing them, to smile as accomplices" – stated Philippe Daverio.
"Genoa once again confirms its role as an exceptional, attractive cultural center. Palazzo Ducale still demonstrates its vocation to dedicate a part of its calendar to photography with big names. Oliviero Toscani is part of a successful program including masters of photography. In this case, it is an important collaboration between public institutions and a private company to offer citizens and tourists an exhibition of great impact. And it is not accidental that Costa Cruises wants to celebrate its 70th anniversary with an important cultural and engaging event like this: the exhibition represents a step, the apex of a much wider path. Costa is a company which is very committed to provide educational and cultural opportunities to the youth of our region, launching high-level training courses together with the Merchant Marine Academy. I hope that this exhibition too will become a positive event especially for a young audience "- said Ilaria Cavo, Councilor for Culture and Training of the Liguria Region.
Elisa Serafini, Councilor for Local Marketing, Culture and Youth Policy of the Municipality of Genoa, said: "Many young people are discovering photography thanks to digital channels like Instagram, Flickr and Facebook. We are sure that this exhibition, which will be open to the public thanks to the contribution made by Costa Cruises, will attract and stimulate a young audience as well. Palazzo Ducale is therefore renewing its determination to mix different genres in order to make culture accessible to all kinds of audiences".
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