Michael Kenna

Michael Kenna was born in 1953 in Widnes, Lancashire, to Irish Catholic parents. He aspired to enter the priesthood before discovering his passion for art. After attending Banbury School of Art, Oxfordshire, he was a student at London College of Printing beginning work as an artist and photographer. His black-and-white photographs, which focus mainly on landscapes, have been exhibited around the world.

Buddha. Bologna, 2022

111 black-and-white shots of the Buddha, taken in various parts of the world, will guide visitors along a path through the different regions (Japan, China, India, etc.) where the author encountered the Buddha's face during his spiritual and artistic pilgrimages.

The exhibition –  promoted by ASSRI (Association for the Development of Religious Sciences in Italy) thanks to the contribution of Fondazione Carisbo (Bando Riscopriamo la città 2021) –  was organized by FSCIRE in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair for Religious Pluralism and Peace and Genus Bononiae and with the support of the Emilia- Romagna Region, as part of the international conference of the European Academy of Religion, which took place in Bologna from June 20 to 23.

Confessionali. Reggio Emilia, 2007-2016

Michael Kenna is among the most profound poetic voices of internationally renowned contemporary photography and is known not only for his black-and-white landscapes but also for the atmospheres he imprints on his subjects. In contact with the Reggio Emilia area, he conceived a photographic project focused on the confessionals of some local churches.

The result of nearly a decade of work, the Confessionali. Reggio Emilia, 2007-2016 exhibition was inaugurated on 4 November 2017 in the Oratory of San Spiridone in Reggio Emilia. It showed 40 shots selected from the 80 that Michael Kenna took during his walks around this city in Emilia, where his interest in the confessionals that he discovered from time to time in the various local churches grew. They became an exciting venture, a new challenge to which the photographer wanted to devote his exclusive attention.

These images of confessionals boxes in Reggio Emilia symbolize what I continue to search for – the invisible within the visible, the intangible contained in the tangible, the illusion of reality. If words, thoughts and emotions could be made visual, these containers of memories would reveal a multitude of densely-packed hidden secrets, confessed, exchanged and discarded in return for some prayers and the blessing and forgiveness of a priest.

The exhibition, under the patronage of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia and the Tuscany Region, was promoted by FSCIRE, which received from Michael Kenna the entire series of the Confessionali of Reggio Emilia. The donation is the result of the contacts between FSCIRE and the artist, rendered possible by the invaluable collaboration of Marta and Tiziano Scalabrini, to whom we are immensely grateful.

The exhibition, organized by Corsiero Editore and Vicolo Folletto Art Factories, curated by Sandro Parmiggiani and arranged by the architect Stefano Lodesani, remained in the oratory of San Spiridone until 26 November.

The confessionals from Reggio Emilia were exhibited in Bologna from 5 to 8 March 2018 for the European

Chanthagyi Buddha, Yangon, Myanmar. 2019

Chanthagyi Buddha, Yangon, Myanmar. 2019