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The whisper with a thousand echoes: Tony Gentile’s photograph of Falcone and Borsellino

Chiari, EC; (2016) The whisper with a thousand echoes: Tony Gentile’s photograph of Falcone and Borsellino. Modern Italy , 21 (04) pp. 441-452. 10.1017/mit.2016.48. Green open access

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Abstract

Tony Gentile’s photograph of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino is one of the most reprinted Italian photographs of the twentieth century. Deriving a special status from its connection to the lost dead bodies of the judges, Gentile’s photograph is a cultural icon, which makes demands on viewers in the present like an uncanny revenant from 1992. This paper considers examples of ways the photograph has been visually, symbolically and materially manipulated by social agents in the years since the judges’ assassinations, to reflect on the polysemous power of the photograph. Considering visual adaptations of the photograph from anti-mafia demonstrations to monuments, and commemorative stamps; from football stadiums to political cartoons, this paper will show how Gentile’s photograph has become the quintessential visual symbol representing the struggles over the memory and meaning of the war against the mafia in contemporary Italy. La fotografia di Giovanni Falcone e Paolo Borsellino, scattata nel 1992 da Tony Gentile, è una delle fotografie italiane più famose del ventesimo secolo. La fotografia di Gentile è anche un’icona culturale che trae il proprio potere simbolico dal suo implicito legame con i corpi dei giudici uccisi. Questo articolo considera alcuni usi pubblici della fotografia sia nell’ambito della protesta che delle commemorazioni ufficiali. L’articolo si interessa in particolare alle re-invenzioni e manipolazioni grafiche e plastiche della fotografia originale, per considerare alcune ‘reazioni culturali’ al fenomeno mafioso in Italia nell’ambito della memoria collettiva.

Type: Article
Title: The whisper with a thousand echoes: Tony Gentile’s photograph of Falcone and Borsellino
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/mit.2016.48
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1017/mit.2016.48
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Falcone e Borsellino; mafia/anti-mafia; cultural icons; cartoons; commemorative stamps; photography
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046009
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