Elisabetta CATALANO 1944-2015

Elisabetta CATALANO was an Italian photographer best known for producing striking black-and-white portraits. Self-taught, Catalano began her career as a contributor to Vogue ItaliaIl Mondo and L'Espresso, amongst other international publications. In 1971, Catalano worked in New York for Vogue America and also in Paris for Vogue France before going on to take an acting role as Anouk Aimee's sister in Federico Fellini's iconic film 8½, where she took iconic behind-the-scenes photographs and prompted Fellini to invite her to photograph other sets. Catalano consequently became an eye witness to an entire generation of celebrities. Her photograph of Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan, published in Vogue in 1968, encapsulates her ability to capture the glamour and beauty of 'celebrity' with empathy and sensitivity. Catalano later moved beyond the world of fashion and fame in the 1970s, photographing some of the most important avant-garde artists of that era, including Joseph Beuys, Gilbert and George, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Vettori Pisani, amongst others.


Increasingly, Catalano acted as participant and collaborator in the creation of artworks. In 1971 Catalano began collaborating with Fabio Mauri, documenting his performance actions, theatrical installations and projections, producing works which the artist regards as her most important artistic creations. Catalano's photographs of Mauri's performances were revisited in 1993, attesting to their significance not only as supplementary material to Mauri's practice, but as artworks in their own right.