Luigi Ghirri was born in 1943 and died in 1992, at the age of forty-nine. During his relatively short life, he revolutionized Italian photography in the 1970s. Although widely considered a pioneer and master of contemporary color photography, Ghirri’s international reputation never fully took root before his death. Featuring both vintage and contemporary prints, this first major U.S. exhibition of Ghirri’s work coincides with the publication of the Aperture book of the same title. Selected text from the book written by Ghirri will be included in the exhibition.
Uncannily prescient, Ghirri shared the sensibility of what became known in the United States as the New Color and the New Topographics movements before they had even been named. Like his counterparts in Italian cinema, Ghirri believed the local and the universal were inseparable. However, while these influences can be seen in his work, he possessed a worldly sensibility that is purely his own. Not surprisingly, his interests encompassed all the arts. He collaborated extensively with the celebrated Italian architect Aldo Rossi, and also completed a series of still lifes in the studio of the renowned Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. As a photographer, writer, and curator, Ghirri influenced a generation of photographers, including Olivo Barbieri and Martin Parr.
Ghirri worked primarily with the landscape and architecture of his Italian homeland. His fresh, color observations of Italy’s contemporary culture are witty, poetic, and often surreal. He photographed everyday objects and loved playing with different perspectives. As William Eggleston notes in his preface, “He teases the viewer about what is real and what is not.” Ghirri’s eclectic array of subjects included maps, charts, books, billboards, signs, advertisements, and his own possessions. His images are visually profound and are about the nature of representation and seeing.
Of the twenty-five monographs published of his work, none have been in English; It’s Beautiful Here, Isn’t It… is the first to get major distribution in the United States and introduce Ghirri’s seminal work to the large international audience it deserves. Ghirri was a prolific writer on photography, and this dynamic volume includes a selection of his wonderful essays, translated into English for the first time, providing insight into his colorful personality, work process, and artistic influences.
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