Marco Anelli - Photograph by Tommaso Sacconi, 2019

Marco Anelli – Photograph by Tommaso Sacconi, 2019

Marco Anelli was born in Rome in 1968. He started his career in 1986 as a photojournalist for motor racing sports. In 1992 he moved to Paris to specialize in black and white photography and its printing techniques. He also collaborated with the agency Presse Sport/L’Equipe.

In 1995 he began what has become an aspect of his work: photographic projects that evolve slowly over long periods of time, developed through an extended engagement with his subject.

The sculptures and the interior of St. Peter Basilica in Rome were the subject of his first project. Working exclusively with the natural light at different times of day, he photographed St. Peter when closed to the public and empty. A book, L’Ombra e la Luce (Shadow and Light) was published in 1998, followed by an exhibition shown in galleries from Milan to New York.

In 1997 he accepted a commission from the National Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, photographing the musicians, conductors and composers participating in its concert seasons of classical music, in a series of intimate portraits captured during private moments of rehearsal. This long co-operation produced exhibitions and a publication, La Musica Immaginata (Imagined Music).

His next projects focused on architectural sites, including the modernist architecture of the Milan Fair, and the restoration of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica. He participated in this latter project together  with  Mimmo  Jodice  and  Olivo Barbieri, and the reportage produced by all three photographers was published in La Pietra e il Tempo (Stone through Time).

In 1998 he began a new photographic project on the world of soccer, photographing soccer players during major Italian championships. The images, capturing moments of intense speed, emotion, energy, and physical skill, were published in the book Il Calcio (Soccer), and  won prizes from Fuji and Canon in 2001.

In 2000 he created a study of relationships seen through living creatures. The project, titled Di Te, 2000 (About you, 2000), won the Mario Giacomelli Memorial Award in 2001. In the following year he began to develop a new chapter of the project, which became Di Te, 2004 (About you, 2004).

From 2005 to 2008 he taught photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

In 2007 he began Seven Chapters, a project based on the exploration of the human body. The third chapter, dedicated to the skin, took as its subject the scars of the artist Marina Abramovic.
In the same year architecture became the subject again, in a new project titled Tetris, which portrayed the materials and structures of building sites through abstract images.

In 2010 he carried out his major photographic project during Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The only person present for the entire duration of Abramovic’s performance (three months/716 hours), he photographed each of the 1,545 visitors who took part in the performance sitting in front of the artist. The portraits, that captured the many different moments of intense emotional connection between the public and the artist, are collected in the volume Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic (Damiani, 2012). The complete gallery of these portraits, presented by the MoMA on Flickr, has reached over 1.7 million views.

In 2011, the book All’Ombra del Duomo (In the Shade of the Cathedral) brought together the results of a six year-long photographic work. The restoration of Milan Cathedral, observed from the scaffold erected for the works, is depicted through a dialogue between the architecture, the sculptures and the life surrounding it.

Gesti dell’Anima (Gestures of the Spirit) is his second photographic book on classical music, collecting images from a seven year period of work at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia. The photographs, taken in the empty concert hall during rehearsals, articulate the classical music as seen through the gestures and expressions of its greatest interpreters.

New York’s architecture, building sites, and their workers are the subjects of his recent research. In 2015 he completed A Simple Story, his project on the construction of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. From 2014 to 2017 he documented the construction of Magazzino Italian Art, a new art space exhibiting Arte Povera in Cold Spring, NY. The photographs were collected in Building Magazzino (Rizzoli, 2017).

In Artist Studios New York (Damiani, 2020) Anelli explores the character of the artist and their work as expressed in the intimate space of the studio. This nine year-long project leads the viewer into the creative location of major New York-based artists such as: Alex Katz, Cecily Brown, Matthew Barney, Robert Longo, Kiki Smith, Joan Jonas, John Giorno, Julian Schnabel, Lawrence Weiner, Marina Abramovic, Urs Fisher, Jack Pierson, Ugo Rondinone and others.

Eleven years after Marina Abramovic’s landmark performance The Artist is Present, Marco Anelli reissues a new edition of Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic (Damiani 2021). In addition to the originally published 1,545 portraits, this special edition includes never before seen archival photographs of the behind-the-scene moments of the artist in preparation for the performance. The photographs reveal the intimate process of the artist during the making of the most ambitious work of her career.

Since 2018 he’s been working on First American Portrait which portrays immigrants in the United States right after their Oath Ceremony, the exact moment when they become American citizens. The project is being carried on in major US cities and aims to include new citizens from every country of the world. 

TINO, Nivola in America is his last published work (by Silvana Editoriale and Magazzino Italian Art 2021) with which Anelli brings renewed knowledge and attention to Costantino Nivola’s sculptures scattered throughout New York City and the US, providing a deeper insight into the work of the Italian artist.

Marco Anelli lives and works in New York City.