The Rome Commission

The Rome Commission is a project curated by Marco Delogu, which started in 2003. Every year a renowned international photographer portrays the city of Rome in total freedom of interpretation. Previous artists have included Olivo Barbieri, Martin Bogren, Tim Davis, Tod Papageorge, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Anders Petersen, Hans Christian Schink, Alec Soth, Guy Tillim and Paolo Ventura. For the 2016 edition of the Rome Commission, Simon Roberts produced an updated set of his New Vedute postcards, which were exhibited alongside some large-format landscape photographs and installation work. The work was first presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO), October – December 2016.

“The series New Vedute may appear quite unlike the rest of his work, yet we find even here many of his typical elements. Roberts superimposes his own contemporary snapshots over postcards, idealised images from disparate places and times yet all depicting the city of Rome. The meaning of each image is influenced by the original text written on the back that become the title of each postcard. The result might often appear disorientating and the end goals are quite diverse: sometimes it is the geometric void of an empty piazza that is re- populated, often with unsettling inverted proportions; sometimes his intention is openly ironic and sometimes the superimpositions become juxtapositions, offering a sharp cross section of Rome’s modern history and its contradictions.
 The overall image that emerges is the typical experience that a hypothetical tourist would encounter when visiting one of the most touristy cities in the world. A city that, with its ancient ruins and many historical monuments, is very much a picture-postcard city yet also an urbanised space. This is the precise dual identity that Roberts investigates by combining contemporary images with postcards, drawing out the internal tensions and exploring the competing images.” Text extract from exhibition introduction by Flavio Scollo, curator.

Along with 25 postcards the exhibition also included two framed landscape photographs, a large floor-to-ceiling vinyl photograph and a postcard stand with a New Vedute postcard available for visitors to take away.


Contact sheet of photographic plates (pdf)

Exhibition introduction text by Flavio Scollo (pdf)