Saturday 22 August
'The artist was born in Bristol in 1945. The first works which showed his personality go back to 1967. Long can be classified as an artist of ''''Land Art'''', the first exponents of which were American. He can be distinguished from them by his sensitivity towards nature, which is typically English. He is part of a tradition which has deep roots in literature and painting. Long travelled extensively in his native country as a boy, rediscovering lost paths, which had once been the routes of shepherds and pilgrims. The artist was inspired by the lands of the North and looked for the same thing in the horizons of Canada, Africa and Australia. The most ancient inhabitants of Europe, from Malta to Valcamonica in Italy, and Scotland, felt the need to show their love for nature by choosing a place which was easy to reach, midway between earth and sky, a natural sanctuary. The traditional way to bear witness to their gratitude to nature was to place heavy stones in an order which reflected the natural laws. From this reason came the stone circles which can still be seen today in Britain. Long felt the need to do something similar, in the brief summer of Iceland, between glaciers and volcanoes, or on the high plains of Arizona, where the sky is purer. He gathered stones creating simple shapes, which he then photographed or recreated in artificial environments. The spiral is a shape loved by Long: because life has an origin, a development within time, a continuity in the repetition of situations.'
'Pepi Merisio was born in Caravaggio, in the province of Bergamo, on 11th August 1931. Self-taught, he started to take photographs in 1947. As an increasingly important protagonist of the amateur scene of those years, he was awarded numerous prizes, even at an international level. As a free-lance professional from 1962, he published his reportages in many magazines, including ''''Epoca'''', ''''Paris Match'''', ''''Look'''' and ''''Stern''''. Throughout his professional activity he has followed and photographed all the trips abroad made by Pope Paul VI. Alongside photo-journalism, he soon started to devote himself to books of photography. The first one, dedicated to his friend, the sculptor Bodini, was published in 1964. Since then, his activity in this sector steadily increased. He has published over 40 books, including "Lazio" (1967) and "Liguria" (1960) commissioned by the Italian Touring Club, "Terra di Bergamo" (1969; The land of Bergamo), a work in three volumes which summarises his approach and should probably be considered as his masterpiece. Merisio has perfected a photographic style which is capable of bringing out the value and meaning of his subjects. Let us take for example the rich sensation of a dimension outside the usual concept of time: a peasant culture is not a fleeting moment, but is a millennial phenomenon, whose rhythms are slow enough to be mistaken for motionlessness. By using photography, which is a technique characterised by the instant, Merisio negates instantaneity, treating it exclusively as a necessary technical step, but without transforming it into an expressive moment. Hardly any of Merisio’s thousands of photographs are snatched from the fleeting moment. The photographer - to restore the most authentic dimension of his world - has the maximum recourse to frontal shots, renouncing the fragment and the sketchy report. His photographs, even those which are necessarily shot in the space of an instant, assume the value of a long-meditated moment. The people in his photographs seem to ''''pose'''', his lens evokes archetypes, figures which distil a greater meaning. All tense towards restoring the deep meaning of a world, Merisio has little time and no desire for formal research. This does not mean that his shots are casual, but that his composition, always so balanced, appears so practised as to appear natural. It is a kind of construction which is possible only for those who have allowed it to mature over time.'