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Elio Ciol 

Elio Ciol was born in 1929 in Casarsa della Delizia (Pordenone, Italy), where he still lives and works. He has practiced photography from a very young age, but in the fifties, Ciol developed his own personal language in landscape and documentary photography. His style continued to evolve over the years, as demonstrated in the wide collection of his projects. Ciol’s photographs are achieved by the meticulous attention to composition, interpretation and sensibility towards not only the portrayed subjects but the intrinsic poetry within each image, which aims to evoke a story.


Ciol’s work is part of the Neorealism movement in photography; a predisposition towards everyday life of ordinary people, depicted to induce social and political transformation. His focus as a documentary photographer started with the rural world, shifting to emigration (with a focus on the railway station) and finally to the life of children. His images are never aggressive – no display of grief, no insistent showing of suffering or death, not disturbing to look at – but rather, joyful in nature.


Elio Ciol also focused intensively on landscapes, mostly Italian. The contrast captured between light and shadow and the choice of black and white give rhythm to the photographs and highlight the vitality of the landscape. The harmonious dialogue between light and shadow brings a deepness into the images and induces the spectator to read them through a visual perspective, going further than the bi-dimensional object. Viewers can find themselves completely enfolded in the landscape, leading to an interpretation that perhaps is more intense and unique than if they were standing there in reality.


Elio Ciol’s work is characterised by its immense sensitivity towards places, architecture, people and landscapes. He has exhibited all over the world, including more than a hundred solo exhibitions. His ‘tender’ approach to documentary photography and his poetic eye towards the landscapes has bought him considerable awards in Italy and abroad. His work is part of collections in many international museums, including the V&A in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Exhibited previously:

2000 “Immagini d’Italia”, New York

2000 “L’incanto della visione”, Paris

2004 Municipality of Casarsa della Delizia “Il fascino del vero”, Italy

2009 Mestre’s Centro Candiani “Terre di poesia”, Italy

2009 Villa Manin "Elio Ciol. Gli anni del Neorealismo", Italy

2009 Pier Paolo Pasolini Study Centre, "La luce incisa", Casarsa, Italy

2009 Church of St. Francis in Pordenone, "Il volto e la parola”, Italy

2011 Russian Academy of Fine Arts “Assisi: la densità del silenzio”, Moscow

2011 RosPhoto in Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Salekhard, Tokyo and Assisi

2011 Arezzo&Fotografia, Arezzo

2011 54th Venice Arts Festival in the Italian Pavilion, Trieste

2012 Classic Gallery, Anthological Exhibition, Moscow

2012 Salone degli Incanti “Il fuoco della natura”, Trieste

2012 Istituto Italiano di Cultura together with Fondazione della Biennale d’Arte “Il volto e la parola”, Irkustk, Novosibirsk and Moscow.

2013 Europhotofestival, Archivio Fotografico Italiano, “Gli anni del Neorealismo”, Legnano and Milan

2015 Galleria Giovanni Bonelli and Centro Culturale in Milan “Pasolini, il poeta che sfidò il nulla”, Italy

2015 Galleria Sagittaria of Centro Iniziative Culturali “Assisi. La densità del silenzio”, Pordenone, Italy

2019 Ptuj City Gallery "Abitudine Della Luce", Slovenia


Public Collections:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York

Center for Creative Photography Tucson, Arizona

Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin

The Art Museum, Princeton University, New Jersey

Centre Canadien d’Architecture, Montréal, Canada

The Art Institute of Chicago

The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi

Civici Musei e Gallerie di Storia e Arte, Udine

Galleria di Arte Contemporanea Pro Civitate Christiana, Assisi

Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo, Udine

Series catalogues available upon request.

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