[piano music evoking an uneasy feel]
Female Narrator The 1960’s and 1970’s were turbulent decades in Italy, marked by social unrest and acts of political terrorism by extremist groups on the right and the left. In 1978, the leftwing paramilitary organization, the Red Brigade, kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. For more than fifty days his fate was unknown.
Artist Sarah Charlesworth made a series of works around the kidnapping to explore how it was visually represented in newspapers from around the world, but the paper she followed longest, and most consistently, was the Vatican’s Osservatore Romano. Photographs curator Arpad Kovacs.
Arpad Kovacs It begins with the day that the Prime Minister was kidnapped and ends on the day of his execution by the Red Brigade.
Female Narrator While other newspapers featured the kidnapping prominently every day, the Vatican represented it quite differently.
Arpad Kovacs If one would look at the front pages of the Vatican's newspaper during this period of national crises in Italy, there is very little evidence that the kidnapping of Aldo Moro was a high priority for the Holy See. In fact, Aldo Moro's picture only appears twice during this period. The first time during the day his kidnapping was announced and the second time on the day his body was located in the trunk of a car.
Female Narrator In this series, Charlesworth masks the front page of everything but the pictures and the masthead, so the viewer can focus on the images.
Arpad Kovacs I think what Charlesworth is getting at is how much we invest in pictures. [piano music evoking an uneasy feel] It shows that once you remove all of the text from the front page of a newspaper, it's only then you begin to see to what extent a picture editor directs information.