Nino Migliori

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Biographical notes

Nino Migliori, a realist and unstoppable experimenter photographer, was born in Bologna in 1926. Industrial expert, he began to photograph around 1948. His production was heterogeneous from the beginning: he devoted himself to photography with highly aesthetic images, but also to studies of darkroom techniques that converge in off-camera experimentation. Over the years, he developed various contacts with the world of amateur photography, initially attending the Circolo Fotografico Bolognese, then the group Misa, and between 1955 and 1957 the Gruppo Friulano per una Nuova Fotografia. Since the 1940s he began his experimental research with techniques he invented such as Oxidations, Pirograms, Idrograms, but also with other techniques such as the pinhole or cliché verre. In the 1950s he took images that documented the life and inhabitants of his region, then collected in Gente dell’Emilia and Gente del Delta series. In 1956 he left for the South and crossed Campania, Basilicata and Calabria. Migliori experimented the formula of collective portrait in exteriors and he established a personal linguistic solution in the interpretation of a reality investigated in those years by Italian and foreign photographers. He never has renounced to the activities held in the amateur field where he obtained awards for exhibitions and festivals in Italy and abroad. Member of the Scientific Committee of the Photography section of the CSAC in Parma, he fervently continued his experimentation activities. From 1986 onwards he often devoted himself to teach in schools of different levels and in museums, such as the recent experience of the workshop at the nest of the MAST Foundation in Bologna (2014-2016). Since 2006 he has been working on the Lumen series, with highly innovative works realized “by candlelight”. He started this cycle with Terra incognita. Lo zooforo del Battistero di Parma and he still continues it today. In 2016, the Nino Migliori Foundation was set up to protect and enhance the Emilian artist. In 2017 he was elected Academic of Honor by the Accademia Clementina. Some of his works have recently been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Since the 1950s numerous exhibitions have been dedicated to him. Among these we highlight: Italiana fotografia neorealista 1951-1959, presented at the Ex Convent of S. Maria di Gonzaga in 2002 by ADMIRA; in the same year was exhibited Nino Migliori. Materie e memorie nelle scritture fotografiche (at the GAM in Turin); in 2005 he presented Anni Cinquanta - la nascita della creatività italiana at the Palazzo Reale in Milan; in 2007 the city of Moscow hosted Fotografia Italiana 1930-1970; in 2008 Crossroads, via Emilia exhibition was presented in Brussels (Belgium) at the Autoworld Museum; in 2011 ADMIRA organized the exhibition Protagonisti del Neorealismo in Cartagena (Spain) at Palacio Molina, then the exhibition was also hosted by Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana (2018). In 2011 Nino Migliori had a show at the Cloisters of St. Peter in the frame of Fotografia Europea festival, Reggio Emilia. His exhibition The Artist’s: Primary Colors on Paper was presented in 2013 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA). Lumen - Il Compianto di Niccolò dell’Arca was exhibited in 2017 at the Complex of Santa Maria della Vita, in Bologna. In 2018 – the year in which the Municipality of Bologna awarded him the Nettuno d’Oro prize – he had a retrospective show at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

Many publications have been produced with his works over the years. Among these: Antonio Migliori, CSAC, Quaderni n. 36, University of Parma (1977); Fotografia gestuale di Nino Migliori, Quaderni del Verri, n. 2, Bologna (1979); Muri di carta, Electa, Milan (1993); Gente-Anni Cinquanta, L’Artiere Edizioni, Bologna (1999); Nino Migliori. Le Avanguardie e il Realismo, Fiaf, Turin (2002); Muri, Damiani Editore, Bologna (2004); Crossroads-Via Emilia, Damiani Editore, Bologna (2006); Peggy in Venice photographed by Nino Migliori, Editrice Quinlan, Bologna (2010); Nino Migliori. Il passato è un mosaico da incontrare, Editrice Quinlan, Bologna (2010); Nino Migliori. La materia dei sogni, Contrasto, Rome (2012); Nino Migliori. Lumen, Damiani Editore, Bologna (2016).

A selection of his photographs is included in the international touring exhibition nd in the book NeoRealismo. La nuova immagine in Italia 1932-1960, published in Italian editions (Admira Edizioni, 2006), Spanish (La Fábrica Editorial, 2007), German (Christoph Merian Verlag / Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2007) and English (DelMonico Books•Prestel / Admira Edizioni, 2018).

All images © Fondazione Nino Migliori.