Collezione Ettore Molinario aims to explore through photography the aesthetic representations of five states and processes involved in the symbolic construction of personal and sexual identity.
The first acquisitions date back to the beginning of the nineties, as a means to experience the pleasure of personal possession. Many themes, which now strongly characterize the collection, were already present at this very initial stage. The fruition of these artworks provoked, over time, an introspective inquiry into the role taken up by each piece of the collection, as well as the relationships between the different works and, more profoundly, the relationship between each work and the collector. The artworks in the collection are thus true fragments of the Self, a re-composition of a restless and fluid identity.
This journey led to an increasing degree of self-awareness that turned the owner into a collector, and the artworks into a proper collection. This introspective inquiry within the Self evolved into a psychoanalytical reading of the collection, exploring themes related to identity issues and the return of the repressed whilst interacting with the horizon of philosophical aesthetics. Through the lens of this unique and original perspective, free from the standard canons of photography and art history, the linear reading of the evolution of time and history gives way to a temporal anachronism (cfr. Georges Didi Huberman) and the survival of antiquity (cfr. Aby Warburg- Nachleben).
Interweaving and temporal reversal: only retrospectively can this project attain its full meaning and reconstruction, although always appearing orderly arranged, as if pre-determined. The collection functions as an open form which re-elaborate itself as it continues to evolve, inextricably linking content and forms. A work in progress in which all dimensions of thought are kept together, even when they seem to be in apparent contradiction; it is a never-ending process of reflection and imagination, quest and discovery.
A journey of combinations, joints, jumps and overlaps, no longer syntactically harmonious, “mounted” through associations and automatisms. The collector, as a montage artist, builds heterogeneities stemming from connections (or correspondences, in Baudelaire’s words), elective affinities (as Goethe and Benjamin would put it), lacerations (according to Bataille), or attractions (in Eisenstein's sense of the word), exposing truth through disorganising rather than explaining things (cfr. Elio Grazioli).


Ettore Molinario is an Economist and an Art Historian. After having worked for two decades as a top executive for multinational companies in the finance and insurance industry, he decided to begin a new personal and professional journey in the arts. He spent several years studying and researching, which culminated in a second University degree in History of Art and a Grand Tour visiting the most relevant museums in the world, from 2010 to 2014. Author of essays on art collecting, he has given lectures on conference papers regarding the associations between photography and psychoanalysis. He was also a visiting professor at the State University of Milan and the Cattolica University in Milan, teaching both classes and workshops on photography and the art market. As an expert on the dynamics which characterize the art market, Ettore Molinario works as a consultant for Private Banks, where he focuses on finance applied to the arts industry. He is considered as one of the most influential photography collectors in Italy.


Il linguaggio delle immagini
Citation: E. Molinario,  Il linguaggio delle immagini. Fotografia in Italia tra gli anni '80 e '90, in M. Manni (a cura di), Metronom, Modena 2023, pp. 86-91.

Living the Images
Citation: E. Molinario, Living the Images, 2019.

Enigma of the Collector
Citation: E. Molinario, “L'enigma del collezionista”, in M. Mazzocut-Mis, C. Spenuso (a cura di), Fermo immagine. Arte, vita e mercato della fotografia, Mimesis, Milano 2017, pp.