“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

Stay in touch
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.