The initiatives to know more deeply about the artwork by Luigi Ghirri continue: after Reggio Emilia and Modena they involve also Parma, with the exhibition Labyrinths of vision. Luigi Ghirri 1991, that is on at the Governor’s Palace.
It’s a huge corpus of photographs belonging to a work on the cultural landscape, which is exhibited for the first time on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the author’s death.
The exhibition (free admission) is on until February 26th. Curated by Paolo Barbaro and Claudia Cavatorta, it’s inspired by the photographs Ghirri left to the CSAC – Study Centre and Communication Archive of the University of Parma on the occasion of the publication of the volume Journey inside an ancient labyrinth (1991), created with
Arturo Carlo Quintavalle.
The core of the show consists of 153 photos, the ones Ghirri shot for the mock- up of the book (his last monography), a precious tool to design the layout as well as to draw up the text by Quintavalle.
A landscape in colour for a new Italian photography
As Quintavalle wrote in these pages (rereading them opens up horizons unprecedented for that time and still up-to-date) between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, owing to the photographic shots and their transposition into postcards, “the great firms of photography (…) that ventured into nationwide documentation ended up constructing the only image of landscape that would appear possible since that moment on and that completely depended on the pictorial tradition. (…) Therefore, and for the first time (….), (ed: thanks to Ghirri), the empty anthropized space becomes the real protagonist. It’s not simply a matter of documenting the countryside and urban spaces, the seaside and coastal cities, it’s rather a matter of grasping (…) the dimension that tends to detach the live narrative where something necessarily has to happen from the simple existence of things, from noticing that a reality is unfolding and now seems stuck in front of our eyes”.
A.C. Quintavalle, “Quel paesaggio perduto”, Journey inside an ancient labyrinth, 1991, p.11-12
Reflections and references: from Ghirri to Walker Evans
We wrote about the 153 photos that are exhibited according to the same logical path as the chapters of Journey inside an ancient labyrinth. Alongside these, in a quite interesting game of references, there are some more from other projects by Ghirri as well as images by Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander and Walker Evans, which Ghirri particularly appreciated.
Those photographers were expressing in b&w, instead, Luigi Ghirri focused on colour, which was essential to draw attention to the ordinary, whether it was countryside or suburbs.
Large-format Polaroids, spectacular one-off pieces made by Ghirri in the early 1980s, are also on show.
All the images come from the collections of the Photography Section of the CSAC and show paths in the work by Ghirri and in the models he identified inside and outside his own production. Hence the presence in the exhibition of those images that were the occasion of his reflections (such as those by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, or those by Fratelli Alinari or Bruno Stefani).
Luigi Ghirri, Parma and the CSAC
The show in Parma, which highlights the author’s relationship with the town and its University, is one of the steps of the homage Emilia Romagna tributed to Ghirri, a myth for a whole generation of photographers.
Labyrinths of vision. Luigi Ghirri 1991 is part of the project Luigi Ghirri: Vedere Oltre (Seeing Beyond), promoted by the towns of Reggio Emilia, Modena and Parma, which were fundamental for Ghirri’s artistic work.
Also the exhibitions On a different scale. Luigi Ghirri, Italy in Miniature and new perspectives at the Palazzo dei Musei in Reggio Emilia (until February 26th) and Luigi Ghirri e Modena. Un viaggio a ritroso, organized in Modena by FMAV at Palazzo Santa Margherita (have a look at the clips on the show on the FMAV website) are part of the project.
The show is organized by the Municipality of Parma in collaboration with CSAC – Study Centre and
Communication Archive of the University of Parma and the Archivio Eredi Luigi Ghirri. It is part of the
project Vedere Oltre, promoted by the municipality of Reggio Emilia together with Modena and Parma,
with the support of Regione Emilia-Romagna and APT Servizi Emilia-Romagna.
Labirinti della Visione. Luigi Ghirri 1991
December 17, 2022 – February 26, 2023
Governor’s Palace (Parma)
In scala diversa. Luigi Ghirri, Italia in miniatura e nuove prospettive
April 29, 2022 – February 26, 2023
Palazzo dei Musei (Reggio Emilia)
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