Vincenzo Vicari photographer

Ticino in the tide of change


Vincenzo Vicari, Lucendro dam, 1953, black and white photograph, Archivio storico della Città di Lugano

Curated by Damiano Robbiani

Palazzo Reali hosts a monographic exhibition dedicated to the Ticino-born photographer Vincenzo Vicari, active in Lugano between 1936 and 1987. The chronological exhibition presents a careful selection of original prints and reproductions from negatives, constituting a total of over one hundred black-and-white and colour photographs that document the transformation of the region and its inhabitants during the transition from the a still very rural world of the post-war years to the urbanized Ticino of the 1980s. Vicari interpreted and documented the canton of Ticino without censorship: from picture-postcard subjects to more unexpected ones, his eye was never celebratory nor beautifying, but confidently recorded the world around him, only occasionally allowing a touch of irony to shine through. While Vicari’s Ticino may not be the idyllic one sought by literary figures such as Francesco Chiesa, Guido Calgari and Giuseppe Zoppi, or that of the ideology of spiritual Defense and tourist propaganda, neither it is only the Ticino of technical progress and economic success at any cost. Indeed, the importance of Vicari’s work lies in his ability to render and summarize the complexity of an area seeking its identity in a way that is never banal.

  • MASI Palazzo Reali

  • via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano
  • Tu-We-Fr: 10 am - 5 pm
    Th: 10 am - 8 pm
    Sa-Su-Public holidays: 10 am - 6 pm
    Closed on Mondays
  • Press conference
    Friday August 28th,
    11 am
    Palazzo Civico

  • Full price: 8.- CHF/Reduced price: 6.- CHF


Vincenzo Vicari was born in Lugano in 1911. Over the years, the building in which he lived became home to a succession of photography studios, the last of which was taken over by the young photographer in 1936. After receiving his diploma of Master of Photography from the ETH in Zurich (1939), he entered active service as a sergeant photographer in the Compagnia aviazione 10, the Ticino squadron of the Swiss Air Force. During the war, he took the first aerial shots of Lugano and filmed numerous documentaries. Between 1945 and 1962 he taught at the school for apprentice photographers in Trevano, while also developing his numerous business interests, until fi nally retiring from his career as a photographer in 1987. He died in 2007, at the age of 95.


Vincenzo Vicari fotografo. Il Ticino che cambia (IT)


Vincenzo Vicari Fotograf. Das Tessin im Wandel der Zeit (DE)