Site SpecificPhotographs by Olivo Barbieri
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Site Specific is a summary of Olivo Barbieri’s ten-year project to record the world’s cities in aerial photographs. The book offers a thrilling survey of thirty-six cities throughout the world. At the same time, it presents a narrative of Barbieri’s evolving approach to photography and his ideas about the nature of the medium. Presented chronologically, the photographs begin with the distinct “tilt-shift” photographs of Italian cities with which Barbieri first established his reputation—and launched a popular stylistic movement for selective-focus photographs. During the series, he later introduced other devices and approaches to distort perceived reality to dramatic effect, such as playing with color, registration, and the deletion or discoloring of particular details. The result is a remarkable photo essay about twenty-first-century urban space and about photography itself. Christopher Phillips presents a thorough background to the work of Barbieri in his introductory essay.
Olivo Barbieri (born in Carpi, Italy, 1954) is a key figure in Italian contemporary art who has been featured several times at the Venice Biennale. His work has been exhibited at institutions, including the Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MART), Rovereto, Italy.His photographs and films are in the collections of the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; International Center of Photography, New York; and Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Turin, Italy. His work has been widely published; monographs of Barbieri’s photographs include The Dolomites Project (2011) and The Waterfall Project (2008).
Christopher Phillips (introduction) is curator at the international Center of Photography in New York and is a widely published critic and photography historian. Previously senior editor at Art in America, Phillips has written many books, including The New Vision: Photography Between the World Wars (1989) and, with Wu Hung, Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China (2004).
"The book's captivating dynamism is down to Barbieri's unique take on the tilt-shift technique. From his aerial vantage point, he takes recognizable city landmarks and reorients them in a magical light. . . . The anthropological value in Barbieri's work is undeniable, but Site Specific, published by Aperture, also charts his technical development over a decade. . . . Those photographs toward the end of the book, dating as recently as 2012, are particularly memorable." - "Olivo Barbieri brings together 10 years of aerial photography in Site Specific," Wallpaper*
". . . raises questions about 21st-century urban space . . ." — New York Times Book Review
"Barbieri's work is a reminder that photography can play a critical role in our understanding of architecture and urban environments." —Elias Redstone, "London Underground | Olivo Barbieri Gets Site Specific," T: The New York Times Style Magazine