From the sixties onwards Mario Cresci is the Italian artist whose work marks the development of the photographic medium’s innovative and experimental language. Cresci's continuous experimentation gives him a preeminent position among Italian photographers who give a “meaning” to photography: a medium able to constantly change our connection to reality, evoking an “illusory” form of the natural.
His complex work is grounded in multidisciplinary studies started in Venice in 1963 and, after moving to Rome in '69, influenced by the encounter with the main protagonists of the Arte Povera, in particular Pino Pascali, Eliseo Mattiacci, Yannis Kounellis and Alighiero Boetti.
In 1969 he designs and produces the first photographic Environnement in Europe - a body of work dealing with the consumerism of the period - at Gallery Il Diaframma in Milan, by exhibiting one thousand transparent cylinders each containing a transparent photograph.
In 1970 he participates in the Venice Biennale, to which he is invited again in 1978, 1993 and 1995.
In the seventies he settles in Matera - designated as the European Capital of Culture for 2019 - where he combines the study of photographic language and the culture of the project through a distinct focus on cultural anthropology; producing works and furthering events for the development of the photographic medium in Italy. Amongst these projects is the publication of Matera, images and documents (1975), a book that can be defined as the first photographic oeuvre on the urban anthropological culture of southern Italy.
In the 1980s he contributes to the reevaluation of the landscape and its meaning, a subject placed in the spotlight by Luigi Ghirri’s Viaggio in Italia, exhibited at the Provincial Pinacoteca di Bari in 1984.
Since 1974 a selection of his works, along with those by Luigi Ghirri, are part of the New York MoMa collection.
His works are housed in numerous public collections, institutes and research centers such as MAXXI - Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XX secolo in Rome, GAMeC - Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, ICG - Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome, Museo d’Arte Medioevale e Moderna della Basilicata in Matera, MAGA - Museo d’Arte in Gallarate, GAM - Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin, CSAC - Centro Studi e Archivio della Communicazione in Parma, MARCA - Museo delle Arti in Catanzaro and CRAF - Centro Ricerca e Archivazione della Fotografia in Spilimbergo.
Mario Cresci teaches at the Fondazione Fotografia in Modena and at the ISIA University in Urbino. He lives and works in Bergamo.