© Olivo Barbieri

Olivo Barbieri: Siena 07, 2002
39.5 x 79 inch, chromogenic dye coupler print

Italy: Spaces and Places

Olivo Barbieri
, Gabriele Basilico, Guido Guidi, Mimmo Jodice, Martino Marangoni, Massimo Vitali, Silvio Wolf

The wonders of Italy are left to us by the illogical relationship of space to place. Civilizations are layered upon civilizations; fragments from one era intersect with those of another, creating a magical congeniality. "Italy: Spaces and Places" gathers the work of several significant contemporary Italian photographers who explore the cultural juxtapositions that define everyday Italian life.

Curator Charles H. Traub has followed the careers of the photographers exhibiting in this show since the publication of his seminal book, "Italy Observed" (Rizzoli, 1988). These artists share an understanding that both space and place define the history of Italy, its architecture and imagery, and also its whimsical politics, economics and style. Although their images are set explicitly in Italy, they also reflect the broader dilemmas of post-modern life. They are perplexed by the pervasive infrastructure of globalization, the redefinition and exploitation of the monumental sites of their country's long history. Is Italy becoming "no-place in particular?" Is the Italian self-view bound by a cultural legacy that historically values pragmatism over romanticism? What are the cultural antecedents of these views? "Italy: Spaces and Places" will provoke the audience to investigate these questions.

Olivo Barbieri (b.1954)
Barbieri travels and photographs throughout the world but is consistently drawn to marginal and peripheral places. His images, while descriptive, transcend the reality of those places and take us to a space that describes our contemporary presence. These spaces are the edges where humans congregate, leave their mark, and create a history that defies the word and can only be experienced visually. He recently participated in the ICP Triennial and the Triennial Photographia, Milan. His work is included in collections in the United States, Germany, France and Italy.

Gabriele Basilico (b.1944)
Basilico studied architecture at the Politecnico of Milan, nurturing his preoccupation with the idiosyncratic imposition of contemporary architecture upon the historic spaces of Italy. His stark images depict a tragic sense of the changing landscape, although the sense of irony in his architectural juxtapositions wins our hearts. He has received the "Prix du Mois de la Photo" and the "Osella d'Oro for Architectural Photography" at the Venice Biennale. His work has been shown at institutions such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Venice Biennale, Venice; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris and IVAM, Spain.

Guido Guidi (b.1941)
Guido Guidi documents the effects of post-industrialization on hallowed or sacred spaces using an unexpected color palette. Having studied architecture with Carlo Scarpa, he currently works as an architectural photographer and a professor of photography at the Ravenna Academy of Fine Arts. His book "Varianti" was awarded the Italian Photographic Book of the Year Prize in 1995. He has also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Southeast Museum of Photography.

Mimmo Jodice (b.1934)
Jodice works as a photographer, a documentarian, and as a magic realist. When working as an architectural photographer he has a straightforward approach to preserving the site as an artifact, but somehow manages to infuse his subject with a romanticism that transcends the space. Light is a dramatic issue in his imagery, giving volume and substance to the ordinary and unnoticed. His work was shown in 1996 at the Philadelphia Museum and he participated in the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 1997. He received the photography award from L'Accademia dei Lincei, the most prestigious Italian academy. His photographs are in many museum collections, including Castello di Rivoli-Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Torino, Detroit Institute of Modern Art, Detroit, CCA Montreal, The University of New Mexico Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, Aperture Foundation, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Martino Marangoni (b.1950)
Marangoni has been an interlocutor between the American and the Italian photographic scene. By combining both research and curatorial activities through his school, The Studio Marangoni, he has created an influential center for contemporary photography. His own black and white photographs reflect the Italian landscape with a hint of nostalgia, yet an almost childlike delight is also present in his work. He has exhibited internationally and is included in collections worldwide.

Massimo Vitali (b.1944)
Celebrated for his voyeuristic and daring large-format photographs made with an 18-foot tripod, Vitali has changed our understanding of Italy's spaces and places by giving us a new vantage point to scrutinize every detail within his frame. People become artifacts, specimens observed in a microscope, objects filled with notations for our archeological curiosity. Summer 2004 will see a major museum exhibition of his recent work at the Centro Arte Pecci, in Prato, Italy (curated by Daniel Soutif). Until the 1980s, Vitali worked as a photojournalist and cinematographer.

Silvio Wolf (b.1952)
Silvio is currently a professor of photography at the School of Visual Arts of the European Institute of Design in Milan. His work represents a transaction of photography and the new wave strategies of contemporary multimedia technology. In this show his work serves as a counterpoint, a nonrepresentational encounter with the essence of Italian spaces and places. His are timeless images of eternal places. He negates narrative and referential issues and concerns himself with how the space or place connotes absence, identity and otherness.

Special thanks to the Italian Cultural Institute of New York City.

Exhibition: March 25 - May 8, 2004
Gallery hours: Tue-Sat 11am - 6pm

Robert Mann Gallery
210 Eleventh Avenue
(between 24th & 25th Streets, Floor 10)
USA-New York, NY 10001
Telephone +1 212 989 7600
Fax +1 212 989 2947