Luigi Ghirri “Works from the 1970s”

Dates: May 27 – Jun 24, 2017
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo
Opening reception: Saturday, May 27, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “Works from the 1970s”, a solo exhibition of works by Luigi Ghirri from May 27 to June 24. From the early 1970s until 1992, when he passed at 49, Ghirri used color photographs to explore metaphysical images. Over two decades, he produced an outstanding body of work characterized by unique chromatic and spatial sensibility. The first solo exhibition of Ghirri’s works at Taka Ishii Gallery will focus on his works of the 1970s, an important period in the development of his oeuvre.   

Ghirri spent his youth in the 1950s and 1960s, during a time of economic growth and cultural transition. He familiarized himself with art at this time, and through conceptual art, one of the most popular movements of the era, he began making photographs collaboratively with other artists pursuing photographic images that were not merely documentary recordings. Founded on experimentalism, Ghirri’s photographic practice is neither characterized by the professionalism of the studio photographer nor the amateurism of the photo fan. Through photography, he aimed to address the complexity and incomprehensibleness of the relation between the self and outside world. He trained his gaze at his subjects to acknowledge his positioning between the known and unknown.  

The themes and concepts addressed in Ghirri’s works are exceptionally diverse, but his photographs constitute a series of dialectical explorations focused on “the gaze.” Through his practice, he ceaselessly, intensively, and gracefully explored the relation between reality and image. His photographs demonstrate that images, such as ads and posters in public spaces, can be analytically categorized into “images turned into reality” and “reality turned into images.” They also show that the partial extraction and erasure of the world through framing exposes the ambiguous boundaries of reality and the changing form of the landscape, and that images projected by the viewer both produce and erase the actual and fantastic. Ghirri’s photographs are products of a search for harmony and diversity carried out by examining metaphysical binaries, such as reality and appearance (or mimicry), actuality and representation, presence and absence, and inner and outer worlds, at the same level. They indicate that photographs are not faithful reproductions of the world, but rather an assemblage of fragments of the “seen” world. His works thus suggest that all photographs are testimonies of the gaze and pose an infinite number of questions about how we might think through the image.

A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

【Publication details】
“Luigi Ghirri”, published by Taka Ishii Gallery (2017)
Soft cover, total 62 pages, 29 illustrations, 22.6 x 27.2 cm, text by Jun Aoki (English and Japanese)
Please contact the gallery for further information.

This exhibition is held in collaboration with Mai 36, Zurich.

Luigi Ghirri was born in 1943 in Scandiano, Italy (and died in 1992). He began making photographs in collaboration with other conceptual artists. Influenced by the photographs of Eugene Atget and Walker Evans, Ghirri began seriously producing photographs in 1973. His first solo exhibition was praised by the critic Massimo Mussini and Ghirri showed his works both in Italy and abroad after. After 1980, his main subjects were Italian architecture and landscape, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region, where he spent his life. He is also known for his 1988 collaborative work with the architect Aldo Rossi and 1991 photographs of painter Giorgio Morandi’s studio. With his wife Paola Bergonzoni and Giovanni Chiaramonte, he established publishing company Punto e Virgola in 1977. In addition to publishing books dedicated to his contemporaries’ works, he produced insightful texts on his and others’ works. His solo exhibitions include “Vera fotografia”, Palazzo della Pilotta, Parma (1979); “Still Life. Topographie-Iconographie”, Light Gallery, New York (1980); “Pensare per immagini”, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo and other locations (2013). His group exhibitions include “Art as Photography – Photography as Art”, Kassel (1975); “Fotografie 1922-1982”, Photokina Cologne (1982). His works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Photography of Parma.

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