Leonardo Magrelli

Born in Rome in 1989, Magrelli holds a BA in Design and Architecture from “La Sapienza” University in Rome. In 2010 he starting working with the photographer Marco Delogu, director of Fotografia – International Rome’s Photography Festival and chief editor of the publishing house Punctum Press. Outside of collaborating with the festival’s organization, Leonardo also designs  books published by Punctum. More recently, Magrelli’s work has been published in several printed and online photography magazines, and has been displayed in collective exhibitions and festivals.


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017

Pairidaeza

Paradise – from ancient Persian Pairidaeza (Pairi – around, Daeza – wall) a place surrounded by walls.

Iran has recently been included in Trump’s Muslim Ban list. This already mostly unknown land will now be even less accessible. This reason alone would suffice to motivate the choice of photographing the country under a different, detached and less propagandistic light. Still, other issues emerge in the encounter with this region of the world.

This series of photographs was taken while roaming the Iranian central desert and the cities within. So many different populations, religions and empires have followed one other for millennia, inhabiting these lands, reaching peaks of astonishing balance with their surroundings. Mithraic temples, Zoroastrian villages, and Persian cities were conceived and built in a perfect symbiosis with the land. And yet today there is a kind of ambivalent struggle to fit in these territories. A latent friction emerge between the human presence and the environment. Things seem out of place: ambiguous objects, unfinished buildings, indefinite traces of humans left behind, lying isolated and scattered on the ground. It is was Lewis Baltz declared as the “the mutual interference between the landscape and those who live it”.

While on the surface it may seem outdated to speak to issues raised by the new topographics more than forty years ago, it must be kept in mind that Iran hasn’t yet developed a proper sensibility to the ecological and aesthetic problems of the landscape. The way people live the territory and live inside the territory no longer relies on the fusion with the surroundings, but rather on the separation from it. A separation that becomes quite paradoxical and absurd in many cases. The vast expanses of the uplands are now littered with industrial structures, commercial areas and various buildings. Most of them are surrounded with walls along their outer perimeter. Who are they keeping out? What are they keeping out, in these completely empty and uninhabited territories? Only the landscape is cut out, only the desert, the mountains and their extensive space. One could wonder if this derives from the ancient Persian gardens, however, the paradise is not anymore within these walls, but outside them, hidden from the view.


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Teheran, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Shiraz, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Persepolis, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Persepolis, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Naqsh-e Rostam, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Fars Province, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Pasargade, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Fars Province, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Yazd, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Meybod, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Yazd, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Yazd, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Qom Province, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Meybod, Iran, 2017


Untitled, Esfahan, Iran, 2017

To view more of Leonardo Magrelli’s work please visit his website.



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