ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 9/24/2018

Karine Laval to launch 'Poolscapes' at SOCO

DATE 9/23/2018

Roxane Gay on Karen Green's 'Frail Sister'

DATE 9/19/2018

From darkness to the full power of the sun: Masahisa Fukase

DATE 9/18/2018

Better than we even dreamed: Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin

DATE 9/17/2018

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Bookstore signings and launch events at the NYABF 2018

DATE 9/17/2018

How we love the radicality of Judson Dance Theater in 'The Work Is Never Done'

DATE 9/16/2018

'Soul of a Nation' as seismic detector, political persuader and defensive weapon

DATE 9/16/2018

Roy DeCarava's Black abstraction in Soul of a Nation

DATE 9/15/2018

It's NATION TIME! Celebrate art in the age of Black Power with 'Soul of a Nation'

DATE 9/14/2018

Celebrating Soul of a Nation

DATE 9/14/2018

David Hammons' "Black First, America Second" in Soul of a Nation

DATE 9/13/2018

Celebrate NYC Fashion Week with 'Sorolla and Fashion'

DATE 9/12/2018

Burt Glinn's photographs of the New York Beat Scene on view at Jason McCoy Gallery

DATE 9/12/2018

Celebrate Fashion Week NYC with the game-changing photography in 'Posturing'

DATE 9/11/2018

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Bookstore presents "Les Masques" children's workshop with Louise-Marie Cumont

DATE 9/11/2018

Extreme clothing in the visual arts in 'Fashion Drive'

DATE 9/10/2018

Celebrate Fashion Week NY with Stephanie Pfriender Stylander's 'The Untamed Eye'

DATE 9/9/2018

Celebrate NYC Fashion Week with Viktor & Rolf

DATE 9/8/2018

Celebrate Fashion Week NY with 'Just Loomis: Backstage,' new from Hatje Cantz

DATE 9/7/2018

Celebrate Fashion Week with GingerNutz in Paris!

DATE 9/6/2018

Fashion Week Staff Favorite 'GingerNutz Takes Paris' reeks with chic

DATE 9/5/2018

This beautiful 350-page Hokusai monograph is NEW from Skira

DATE 9/4/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Sory Sanlé: Volta Photo

DATE 9/3/2018

Charmingly stoic and exasperatingly austere: Seaside Shelters

DATE 9/2/2018

'Will Scott: Seaside Shelters' is an end-of-summer staff favorite

DATE 9/1/2018

Back To School Reading

DATE 9/1/2018

Will Scott photographed British sea shelters—among the smallest and the biggest hearted buildings ever built

DATE 8/31/2018

Remembering Princess Diana in 'Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits'

DATE 8/30/2018

NEW! Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life

DATE 8/30/2018

Ben Lerner & Michelle Kuo launch 'Alexander Kluge & Ben Lerner: The Snows of Venice' at MAST

DATE 8/29/2018

'Film Culture 80: The Legend of Barbara Rubin' Launch at Printed Matter

DATE 8/29/2018

New work by Yayoi Kusama in 'Festival of Life'

DATE 8/28/2018

What is it about 'Spomenik Monument Database'?

DATE 8/28/2018

WATCH the 'Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin' book trailer!

DATE 8/27/2018

Just a few of the reasons why we can't get over this new Karel Teige monograph

DATE 8/26/2018

'This Is No Dream: Making Rosemary's Baby' reviewed in 'The Washington Post'

DATE 8/24/2018

NEW! James Turrell: Extraordinary Ideas—Realized

DATE 8/24/2018

James Turrel, light and revelation

DATE 8/23/2018

'This Is No Dream: Making Rosemary's Baby' launch at IFC

DATE 8/23/2018

A remarkable facsimile of Ibrahim El-Salahi's 1976 prison notebook

DATE 8/23/2018

Artbook Editions to launch 'Went Home Due to All the Noise' print by Mindy Abovitz-Monk

DATE 8/22/2018

Like riding a comet: Jack Whitten's 'Notes from the Woodshed'

DATE 8/21/2018

Hidden treasure brought to light in 'Jack Whitten: Notes from the Woodshed'

DATE 8/20/2018

All about… the inadvertent success of Saul Leiter

DATE 8/19/2018

Elation and awe in 'All about Saul Leiter'

DATE 8/18/2018

Time stops in 'Evelyn Hofer: New York'

DATE 8/17/2018

Radiating authenticity: Evelyn Hofer

DATE 8/16/2018

Michael Jackson, Michelangelo and David LaChapelle, 'On the Wall'

DATE 8/15/2018

KAWS on Michael Jackson, 'On the Wall'

DATE 8/14/2018

But wow! The Americans!

DATE 8/13/2018

BACK IN STOCK! Robert Frank: The Americans


AT FIRST SIGHT

KYRA SUTTON | DATE 10/9/2015

'Hidden Islam' Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

While the media is abuzz with talk of the large Muslim populations in France, Germany, Holland and England, Islam and Italy are terms not often heard in tandem. Italy is, in fact, home to 1.5 million practicing Muslims—a figure that has grown rapidly within the last 10 to 15 years with new waves of immigration from countries such as Albania, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan, among others. The country, however, contains a mere eight mosques on paper, only one of which holds official state recognition. Though freedom of religious practice without discrimination is enshrined within the Italian constitution, Islam is the second-most widely practiced religion in the country behind Catholicism and it has yet to receive formal recognition from the state. In 2008, a bill was introduced to block the construction of mosques in much of the country, meaning the millions of Muslims in Italy have had to find other spaces in which to gather and pray.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy
ABOVE and below, mosques inside warehouse spaces.

Italian photographer Nicoló Degiorgis' project explores those spaces, homing in on the artist's native Northeast Italy, where the xenophobic Lega Nord party dominates local government. Sorted according to building type—with sections divided by "warehouse," "shop," "supermarket," "apartment," "stadium," "gym," "garage" and "disco"—the photographs of these mosques' exteriors are in black-and-white, free of people and taken diagonally or head on, with the emphasis on the industrial feel of the buildings and their harsh, straight angles; not a dome or minaret is in sight. If you're not paying close attention, it's possible to miss the book's main feature: the photos within the gatefolds, hidden (as in the book's title) beneath these stark, documentary-style images.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

The pages open up into two-page full bleed spreads of the prayer spaces; the warehouses and garages appear suddenly expansive and colorful: intricate rugs line floors, with shoes piled up beside them to be retrieved after prayer, and rooms are filled with stacks of Qurans, flat screen TVs and speaker systems. In some of these images we see masses of bodies huddled together in prayer, while others are unpopulated, a lone potted plant the only indicator of a religious community.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

Admittedly, this format—outdoor, black-and-white photos outside the gatefolds and indoor, color photos within them—has the potential for heavy-handedness, but the dichotomy works. It feels neither trite nor obvious. Perhaps this is because some of the "interiors" are, in fact, outdoors—in apartment building courtyards or spaces beside warehouses. In a particularly moving image, Degiorgis captures a community mid-prayer as seen through the windows: this is the Islam that is obfuscated, but still visible—if you look for it—to an Italian passerby.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

This point-of-view is Hidden Islam's conceptual hinge: the photographer is not, himself, a practicing Muslim and his images, often shot from behind, as though from a doorway, are from the perspective of an outsider. Indeed, in the spirit of truly immersive documentary photography, Degiorgis negotiated for months to gain acceptance to some of the mosques he photographed, learning of various communities through word of mouth and working to track them down. He has now been to more mosques in Italy than perhaps any other person, Italian Muslims included, and his work of mapping a fragmented, marginalized people—the result of five years of research—is laudable. As Yasman Alipour wrote in her March, 2015 review in the Brooklyn Rail, "the documentary project focuses on a subject of great importance that has so far received little attention: the struggles of Muslims living in the Islamophobic environment of today's Europe."

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy
ABOVE and below, mosques inside shops.


But as noted British photographer Martin Parr writes in his introduction (which, like the interior mosque images, is tucked within a gatefold and therefore possible to miss), "Degiorgis provides a fascinating glimpse of a hidden world and leaves the conclusions about this project entirely in our own hands." Alipour takes issue with this claim, wondering if the images that comprise Hidden Islam are quite as neutral as Parr would have it. Are Degiorgis' photographs part of a classic, simplistic Western depiction of Islam which separates viewer and subject? Do his photographs of bodies bent in prayer with faces obscured present a perspective that is alienating, dehumanizing and "othering?"

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

It's true that Hidden Islam is intended for a Western audience; the book, published in English, was meant to be shared beyond the Muslim community. But "Western" need not be synonymous with "reductive," and the volume does not succumb to such tropes. Degiorgis' photographs are about stumbling upon the unexpected as an outsider, about an Italy whose landscape is surprisingly similar to that of a country without a storied history of Catholicism—an Italy whose secularism is revealed to be repressive in a way Westerners typically imagine only of far-off places like Saudi Arabia.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy
ABOVE and below, mosques inside supermarkets.

Some say that all art is political; I would argue that the most politically effective art is rarely so overt. This is what makes Hidden Islam such a success: its content and context are undeniably contentious—as evidenced by the hundreds of reader comments elicited by a 2014 review in The Guardian, which the publisher Rorhof has since turned into another book—but Degiorgis presents his work without comment. Though it resembles a work of literature in design and format, the volume is a photobook in the truest sense. In a time of rampant Islamophobia, and, especially post-Charlie Hebdo, of an Internet saturated with discourse on the topic, it's refreshing and important to encounter a project that affects in a mode beyond the verbal. The images of Hidden Islam—and their thoughtful organization—speak for themselves.

Hidden Islam Reveals Underground Mosques of Italy

Nicoló Degiorgis: Hidden Islam

Nicoló Degiorgis: Hidden Islam

RORHOF
Hbk, 6.5 x 9.5 in. / 90 pgs / 43 color / 84 b&w.

$45.00  free shipping



DATE 8/23/2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky

DATE 7/31/2015

Axel Hoedt

Axel Hoedt

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

New York Is ...

DATE 5/13/2014

Libuse Niklová

Libuse Niklová


ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com