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the real and the sublime – theartwolf

Paolo Pellegrin

From November 25, 2023, to March 17, 2024, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents the exhibition “Paolo Pellegrin: Fragile Wonders

Source: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg · Image: Paolo Pellegrin · ©Paolo Pellegrin, license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, retrieved from

A gigantic iceberg, glowing lava, barren landscapes, mighty vegetation, boundless flocks of birds, and enraptured animal worlds—Paolo Pellegrin’s (b. 1964) photographic exploration of the Anthropocene is a visually powerful journey into the unknown. For one year, he traced the state of nature from Iceland to Greenland, from Sicily to South Tyrol, and from Namibia to Costa Rica. The roots of this project lie in an expedition to Antarctica that Pellegrin undertook in 2017 together with a group from NASA. In a comprehensive exhibition, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents for the first time in Germany the impressively direct, but also poetic and at times surreal photographs and projections of the Italian photographer’s global analysis of nature.

The winner of ten World Press Photo Awards, various Photographer of the Year Awards, the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, and many other honors, Paolo Pellegrin is one of the most famous documentary and war photographers of our time. His photographs are captivating not only for their documentary value, but also for their aesthetic power. They are more than pure reportage photography, for he has long since abandoned image sharpness in favor of a broad spectrum of light and shadow. Thus, his most recent nature photographs, which are based on the four elements, are also motivated by a personal quest: “Yes, of course it’s about landscapes and nature, but I have to transform them. […] I’m looking for the sublime.” Whether in color or in black and white, Paolo Pellegrin exposes the textures and patterns, the surfaces, the enormous power, as well as the vulnerability of our planet. His “Fragile Wonders” not only tell the story of climate change, but open space for new viewing experiences of nature beyond catastrophes.

The exhibition was developed for the Museum Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin and adapted and expanded for the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in collaboration with Magnum Photos. Nominated as early as 2001, Paolo Pellegrin has been a member of the renowned Magnum photo agency since 2005.

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