Works from the MAST Foundation Collection

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON | Gli ultimi giorni del Kuomintang

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON, Gli ultimi giorni del Kuomintang (crollo del mercato), Shanghai, China, 1948-1949 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos


The MAST Foundation Collection is the world’s only reference point for industrial and labour photography.
It holds more than 6,000 images and videos by famous artists and masters of the lens, as well as a wide selection of photo albums by unknown authors.

The aim of the MAST Foundation is to create a space specifically dedicated to the photography of industry and labour and to acquire images from auction houses, private collections, art galleries, photographers and artists.

Collection of the MAST Foundation

PETER FRASER | Robotic Arm

PETER FRASER, Robotic Arm with seven degrees of movement, dalla serie “Deep Blue” © Peter Fraser

The Collection of the MAST Foundation includes works from the 19th and early 20th century with a process of value selection and a careful methodological approach by Urs Stahel.

The Foundation’s heritage, which in the early years of the 21st century already contained a collection of films, glass and film negatives, photographs, albums and catalogues produced since the early 1900s, was thus enriched and went beyond the parameters of promotional and documentary material of the companies of the industrial group.


In the works of the MAST Foundation Collection, documentary photography meets conceptual art, while the old processes of developing and printing on different types of photographic paper, such as albumen prints, are compared with the latest digital and inkjet prints.
Images dominated by black and white are flanked by brightly coloured representations.
The gloomy landscapes of heavy industry contrast with the glittering high-tech facilities, hard manual work and craftsmanship find their counterpoint in digital universes, in automated data processing. Protest demonstrationsagainst the market and the financial crash are
also present in the Mast collection, alongside visual evidence of migration and office work”. There are
numerous portraits of workers, managers, the unemployed, job seekers and migrants, but there is also documentation of technological progress and the analogue effort in both industry and photography.

From industry, photography and modernity we move on to high technology, image-generating networks and post-post ­modernity, i.e. a kind of contemporaneity 4.0.
From a simple copy of reality to images generated by artificial intelligence.

Says Urs Stahel, curator of the collection:

“The parallelism between industry, the photographic medium and modernity has a disorienting effect at times. Photography is the child of industrialisation and at the same time the most incisive visual document of it, merging memory and commentary”.

RUTH HALLENSLEBEN | Carbone e carburante sul Rhein-Herne-Kanal a Gelsenkirchen

RUTH HALLENSLEBEN, Carbone e carburante sul Rhein-Herne-Kanal a Gelsenkirchen, 1995 © Ruth Hallensleben Archive, courtesy of Anton Laska


The MAST Collection – A Visual Alphabet of lndustry, Work and Technology”, curated by Urs Stahel, is the first exhibition of selected works from the Foundation’s collection: over 500 images including photographs, albums, videos by 200 great Italian and international photographers and anonymous artists, occupying all the exhibition areas of MAST. Iconic images by famous photographers from all over the world, lesser-known or unknown photographers, artists who were finalists in the MAST Photography Grant on Industry and Work, which visually bear witness to the history of the industrial world and work.

visual alphabet of industry, work and technology
10 February – 28 August 2022

via Speranza 42, Bologna

Free admission
Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 7 pm

The exhibition is structured in 53 chapters dedicated to as many concepts illustrated in the works represented.
These 53 chapters represent as many thematic islands in which old and young, rich and poor, healthy and sick, industrial areas or working-class villages coexist. They constitute the meeting point of the most disparate perceptions, attitudes and projects.

Fotografia | Fondazione Mast

Da sinistra: MIMMO JODICE, Napoli, via Nuova Bagnoli n. 512, 1975 © Mimmo Jodice – SEBASTIÃO SALGADO, Pozzo petrolifero, Burhan, Kuwait © Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas. Images/Contrasto – MAN RAY, Elettricità. La casa, 1931 © Man Ray Trust by SIAE 2022

DOROTHEA LANGE | Madre migrante

DOROTHEA LANGE, Madre migrante, 1936


PAOLO WOODS, GABRIELE GALIMBERTI, The Heavens. Annual Report, 2013
© Paolo Woods, Gabriele Galimberti, courtesy of the artists

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