“Theatricality must restore and cross from side to side, existence and flesh.” – Antonin Artaud

In February 2020, Alex Majoli visited Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy to work with the Fondazione I Teatri and add to his project Scene, an extended meditation on the theatre of everyday life. As he worked, the specter of the emerging pandemic began to surface in his photos. His subjects became masked and stood further apart, and the six o’clock death toll announcement became a daily fixture; the epidemic, a distant threat at first, was now approaching Reggio Emilia.

On March 8th, the country came to a standstill. Relocating just in time to the northern mountains of Italy, Majoli derailed his project to focus instead on a very contemporary tragedy. Eventually, after more than a year on hold, he resumed his work with I Teatri. The resulting body of work is not just a photography book, but an open paragraph about the Covid crisis. Building on the themes of Scene, Opera Aperta examines the performative aspects of daily life and interrogates the ambiguity between reality and fiction in a time of global panic.

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox