The common imagery of the prison life is fed by the photographic and cinematic depiction that nearly always represents the male population.
In the era of the #MeToo movement and of a resurgence of the female voice I have decided to investigate what incarceration is like for a woman: the maternity, the relationship with family and partners, the harsh condition with other cell-mates of different countries and cultures.
In Rome, the city where I live, the women's section of Rebibbia prison is the greatest in Europe. The huge architecture developed on the model of the Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham is divided in two main buildings, the Camerotti and the Cellulare, that inevitably mark the time of prisoners' days.
I have decided to let these spaces speak for them: the cells, the nursery, the kindergarten, the common spaces for social and educational activities, the laundry, the farm, the visitors' room are the only places where the inmates spend their lives for years.
Since there is no privacy in a jail and everything is under control I have turned the personal perspectives in a collective story devoted to pain and relief at the same time, hanging in between violence and redemption, pointed by dramas and solidarity as well.
Discovering a world often neglected and very different from my expectations has been an eyeopening experience that has changed my way of reaffirming to myself and of being a free woman.
About Francesca Pompei
Francesca Pompei is a professional photographer focused on arts and architectural images, member of the board of Italian Association of Professional Photographers-TAU Visual from 2014 to 2020. She is represented by the Galerie Bruno Massa in Paris and the Art+Commerce AgencyPhotoVogue Collection New York.
Her photos have been featured in national and international exhibitions such as Art Basel Miami Beach 2012, Frieze Art Fair New York 2014, FOTOGRAFIA-Festival Internazionale Roma 2014, Art Fair Tokyo 2017, Architectural Digest Design Show New York 2018, Praxis Gallery & Photographic Arts Center Minneapolis, Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2018, the 5th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography-Barcelona, Paratissima Art Fair 2018, Photokina 2018, Artrooms Fair London 2019, Art Fair Paris 2019, Visuali italiane, Tokyo, Future Now Aesthetica Symposium 2020.
Her works feature also on LensCulture, PhotoVogue, blink, Fondo Malerba per la Fotografia, L’Oeil de la photographie, Aesthetica Magazine, Artsper, Saatchi Art, Dodho magazine, OpenEye, Artsy and Artnet.
Her name is included in the Art in America's Guide to Museums, Galleries and Artists 2017, in the TOP 100 artists 2018 by the Circle Foundation for the Arts-France, in the top 10% of all entries at the World Press Photo 2019 and among the artists selected to celebrate the Italy’s Republic Day 2020.