"Great War – Piave and Isonzo: soldiers at the front". A new photography exhibition

Austrian soldiers walk across the Grave di Papadopoli
The CEDOS (Centre of historical research on the Great War) of San Polo di Piave is a small but lively cultural association that promotes studies and events around the legacy of the Great War with a strong focus on photography. The Centre was in fact established in conjunction with the donation by Eugenio Bucciol of an important collection of WWI pictures with the intent to preserve and valorize this visual material. Bucciol, who is still active member of the CEDOS, lived for a long period in Vienna, where he collected in the city war archive a series of photos taken by the Austrian Army when it occupied Friuli and part of Veneto after the rout of Caporetto. A selection of these images are now at the centre of a new exhibition which celebrates the soldiers’ life at the front.

Two rivers mark the virtual contours of the exhibition, the Isonzo – which actually traced the front line as soon as Italy entered the WWI in 1915 – and the Piave – where after the rout of Caporetto the Austrian advance and the Italian retreat came to a precarious equilibrium of forces in autumn-winter 1917. Most of the 143 photos on display were shot on the battle fields and in the Italian territories occupied by the Austrian Army and depict the multifarious situations of the everyday life of these places at those years. Of course the bitter logic of the war comes to light, with its trenches, battles, wounded and fighting soldiers, with its strategic plans and the works behind the front lines. But also the local population is not neglected: the exhibition commemorates the suffering and the famine, the hard work and the despair that the civilians had to endure. Finally the – sometimes fierce, sometimes serene – interaction between these two worlds is depicted in the photos.

The exhibition “Grande Guerra. Isonzo e Piave: soldati al fronte” was opened on last 13th December and will run till 11th January 2015. You can visit it in San Polo di Piave from Thursday to Saturday 15.00-19.00 and on Sundays already from 09.30. Further information here.

(We thank the President of CEDOS, Sergio Tazzer, who sent us some photos to share with our readers in the coming days on a dedicated post.)