Paolo Pellegrin

Fragile Wonders

25. 11. 2023 — 26. 5. 2024


A gigantic iceberg, glowing lava, barren desert lands­capes, magni­ficent vegeta­tion, paradise-like animal worlds and the last two living northern white rhinos — Paolo Pellegrin’s (b. 1964) photo­graphs take us on a visually powerful journey around the world: From Iceland to Costa Rica, from Greenland to Namibia, from Italy to Japan, and from Germany to Australia he traces the effects of the human-caused climate catastrophe and the state of nature. The roots of this project lie in a research trip to Antarc­tica that Pellegrin undertook in 2017 together with a group from NASA to document the dramatic conse­quences of global warming.

In a compre­hen­sive exhibi­tion, the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg will present for the first time in Germany Pellegrin’s impres­si­vely direct, but also poetic and at times surreal photo­graphs and projec­tions. The works of the multiple award-winning Italian photo­gra­pher, who has been a member of the renowned Magnum Photos agency since 2005, resemble a global survey of nature.

Parti­cu­larly known for his moving war photo­graphs, Paolo Pellegrin is one of the most famous documen­tary photo­graphers of our time. His photo­graphs are capti­vating not only for their authen­ti­city, but also for their aesthetic quality which is able to affect emotio­nally. They are more than pure reportage photo­graphy, for he has long since expanded his reper­toire in favor of a specific use of light and shadow as well as various photo­gra­phic techni­ques and methods. To give expres­sion to truth fullness, Paolo Pellegrin deliber­ately dispenses with the possi­bi­li­ties of digital image manipu­la­tion. Thus, his most recent nature photo­graphs, which are based on the four elements, are also motivated by a personal quest for trans­cen­dence: “Yes, of course it’s about lands­capes and nature, but I have to transform them. […] I’m looking for the sublime,” says Pellegrin.

Whether in color or in black and white, with his precise image compo­si­tions Paolo Pellegrin exposes the textures and patterns, the surfaces, the enormous power, as well as the vulnera­bi­lity of our planet. The exhibi­tion Fragile Wonders not only relates to the various direct effects of the climate crisis, but also opens up spaces for new ways of looking at nature beyond the catastro­phes, bearing witness with great empathy to the beauty and uniqueness of the Earth that needs to be preserved.

The exhibi­tion was developed for the Gallerie d’Italia, Museum Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin and adapted and expanded for the Kunst­mu­seum Wolfsburg in colla­bo­ra­tion with Paolo Pellegrin and Magnum Photos.

Dino Steinhof

Curato­rial Assistant
Carla Wiggering

Paolo Pellegrin, Disko Bay, Ilulissat, Greenland, 2021
© Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum Photos


In coope­ra­tion with

With generous support