Irene Fenara is an Italian multidisciplinary artist whose practice analyses the act of looking becoming coexistent with digital technologies. She has exhibited extensively across Italy and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions, participated in several national residencies, and has guest lectured for Italian university art faculties.

Presented at the 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale as part of the Outdoor Core Program, Irene Fenara’s series Self Portrait from Surveillance Camera focuses on the power dynamic of surveillance and our complicity in surrendering privacy. Her practice observes, investigates and interprets the way machines perceive and capture their surroundings, and how this intrusion of technology questions who observes and who is observed. An act of resistance and an imposing of one’s identity, Fenara poses for self-portraits in front of public surveillance cameras and then accesses the footage which would otherwise be wiped after a twenty-four-hour period. By retrieving these images, Fenara shifts the power imbalance.

Irene Fenara will discuss her series and exhibition with Ballarat International Foto Biennale Artistic Director, Fiona Sweet, and Director Italian Cultural Institute Melbourne, Angelo Gioé.


About Irene Fenara
Irene Fenara lives and works in Milan. Her practice is dedicated to the act of looking, aptly captured through photographic and digital mediums. Fenara investigates the way machines perceive and capture their surroundings, and how this intrusion of technology is in direct opposition to natural states of being. Fenara explores themes of mass surveillance, ultimately questioning who observes and who is observed.
Her work has been exhibited in public and private institutions such as Fondazione Prada Osservatorio (Milan 2016), Fondazione Fotografia (Modena 2017), MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art (Bologna 2018), Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Rome 2018), Kunst Merano Arte (Merano 2019), Villa Merkel (Esslingen am Neckar 2020) and Museo Licini (Ascoli Piceno 2021).

About Fiona Sweet
A prominent and highly respected Artistic Director, Fiona Sweet is renowned for inspiring and intelligent delivery of uniquely curated festivals and exhibitions. Currently, Fiona is the Artistic Director and CEO of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia’s leading contemporary photographic event. The Biennale delivers a dynamic program of two major photographic exhibition streams showcasing acclaimed Australian and international artists, while fostering the development of emerging and regional artists.
Fiona is also the Director of the National Centre For Photography, Australia’s newest and only regional gallery dedicated exclusively to photography. Fiona is an influential and in-demand public speaker, industry judge, photographic portfolio reviewer and assessor in Australia and internationally.

About Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) Melbourne
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC) – Italian Cultural Institute Melbourne is the official body of the Italian Government for the promotion of Italian language and culture, covering the states of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. IIC Melbourne presents a rich program of Italian cultural events, such as concerts, art and photography exhibitions, talks and seminars and more, including special guest musicians, performers, writers, journalists and academics direct from Italy.

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Artist Talk: Irene Fenara in conversation with Fiona Sweet & Italian Cultural Institute Melbourne
  • Free Ticket
    November 8, 2021
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm