Massimo Vitali

Italy 1944


Massimo Vitali
Massimo Vitali
December 13, 2014

Massimo Vitali is an Italian photographer, best known for his monumental color photographs of beaches, pools, and social gatherings, often taken from removed vantage points, adapting the historical practice of landscape painting and figural studies to the photographic lens.

In his richly colored, detailed large-scale photography, Vitali achieves a balance between interpersonal narratives and the natural world, in images capturing human activity amidst panoramic views of landscapes. His work focuses on the voyeuristic capacities of photography, examining the anonymous, detached nature of urban life in the interactions between his subjects, seen at a distance by the viewer.

Massimo Vitali was born in Como, Italy, in 1944. He moved to London after high school, where he studied Photography at the London College of Printing. In the early 70s he pursued a career working as a photojournalist, collaborating with many magazines and agencies in Italy and in Europe. He initially worked for the Report Agency, among other European magazines. It was during this time that he met Simon Guttmann, the founder of the agency Report, who was to become fundamental in Massimo’s growth as a ‘concerned Photographer’.

At the beginning of the 80s, a growing mistrust in the belief that photography had an absolute capacity to reproduce the subtleties of reality led to a change in Massimo’s career path. He began working as a cinematographer for television and cinema. However, his relationship with the still camera never ceased, and he eventually turned his attention back to photography for purely artistic purposes.

Massimo Vitali first began taking pictures of crowds in 1994 and ever since has traveled the world documenting how and where people gather – picnickers in the Luxembourg Gardens, spectators at an air show in Viareggio, tourists massed on the Piazza San Marco. His series of Italian beach panoramas began in the light of drastic political changes in Italy. Massimo started to observe his fellow countrymen very carefully. He depicted a sanitized, complacent view of Italian normality, at the same time revealing the inner conditions and disturbances of normality – its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodification of leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism. His series of beaches later expanded and now include ski resorts, pools, clubs, piazzas and other tourist and leisure sites around the world. Vitali expresses himself and comments through the most palpable form of contemporary art, displaying a new approach to portraying the world, illuminating the apotheosis of the Herd.

Vitali’s work is held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among other institutions.

He currently lives and works in Berlin and in Lucca, Italy.

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo 
2014Massimo VitaliStudio La Citta', Verona, ItalySolo
2014Massimo VitaliErich Lindenberg Art Foundation, Porza, SwitzerlandSolo
2013Massimo VitaliGaleria Claire Fontaine, Luxembourg Solo
2013Massimo VitaliArt Loft, Berlin, GermanySolo
2013Rêves de VeniseL'Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, FranceGroup
2012Massimo Vitali, Arcadian RemainsBonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, USASolo
2012Massimo Vitali: New WorksLondon, UKSolo
2012A meno di non ricorrere a una fotografiaM & D ARTE, GorgonzolaGroup
2012By The SeaMadelyn Jordon Fine Art, Scarsdale, NYGroup
2012Sense of Place - European Landscape PhotographyBOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts, BrusselsGroup
2012Segment #2Borusan Contemporary, IstanbulGroup
2012Extraordinary PhotographsRosier Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Peripheral Visions: Italian Photography, 1950s-PresentLeubsdorf Art Gallery - Hunter College, New York City, NYGroup
2012Demonstrationen. Vom Werden normativer OrdnungenFrankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt au MainGroup
2011FOTOGRAFIA ITALIANA: 8 film per 8 fotografiAuditorium del MAXXI, Rome, ItalyGroup
2011An Italian perpectiveStudio la Città, Verona, ItalyGroup
2011The Armory Show 2011Galería SENDA, BarcelonaGroup
2011An Italian perspective. Ma lo sguardo vede?Studio La Città, VeronaGroup
2010Massimo VitaliM+B, Los Angeles, CASolo
2010Massimo Vitali - A Touch Of SummerHilgerBROTKunsthalle, ViennaSolo
2010Massimo VitaliGaleria Maior - Palma de Mallorca, Palma de MallorcaSolo
2010Art Now - The ColumnsSeoulGroup
2010Medianoche en la CiudadCentre d’Art la Panera, LleidaGroup
2010Human Territories Part 2Crown Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2009Massimo Vitali – disturbances of realityHilger contemporary, ViennaSolo
2009Massimo VitaliFoam Fotografiemuseum, AmsterdamSolo
2008Massimo VitaliGaleria SENDA-espai 2NOU2, BarcelonaSolo
2008Massimo VitaliGalería SENDA, BarcelonaSolo
2008Massimo Vitali - New WorksCrown Gallery, BrusselsSolo
2008Massimo VitaliM+B, Los Angeles, CASolo
2008Massimo VitaliGalerie Hafenrichter & FlügelSolo
2007Massimo VitaliArtcore Gallery, Toronto, ONSolo
2007Massimo VitaliJackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GASolo
2006Massimo Vitali - Old Concepts, New WorksThe Columns, SeoulSolo
2006Massimo VitalHilger contemporary, ViennaSolo
2006Massimo VitaliM+B, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006American Beaches - Massimo Vitali - Brancolini GrimaldiFlorence, FlorenceGroup
2006American Beaches - Brancolini GrimaldiLondonGroup
2006Massimo Vitali: Playas, discotecas y supermercadosGaleria SENDA-espai 2NOU2, BarcelonaSolo
2006Massimo Vitali - Playas, discotecas y supermercadosGalería SENDA, BarcelonaSolo
2006Massimo VitaliCrown Gallery, BrusselsSolo
2005Massimo Vitali - Fotografien 1995-2005Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, LinzSolo
2005Massimo VitaliLa Fabrica Galeria, MadridSolo
2004Massimo Vitali - FotografieArte Contemporanea, GenoaSolo
2004Massimo VitaliMu.ZEE, OostendeSolo
2004Massimo VitaliHilger contemporary, ViennaSolo
2004Massimo VitaliHilger modern, ViennaSolo
2004Massimo VitaliCentro per l´Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, PratoSolo
2004Massimo VitaliCrown Gallery, BrusselsSolo
2003Massimo VitaliGalleria Cons Arc, ChiassoSolo
2002Camere con vistaIl Filatoio di Caraglio, ItalyGroup
2002Continuità: Arte in Toscana 1968-1989Palazzo Fabroni, Pistoia, ItalyGroup
2002Cache-Cache, CamouflageMUDAC Musée de Design et d’Arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne, SwitzerlandGroup
2002TradeNederlands Foto Institut, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2002Massimo VitaliThe Photographers’ Gallery Print Room, UKSolo
2002Forum Culturel Blanc-MesnilBiozones, Bobigny, FranceGroup
2001Massimo Vitali - Neue ArbeitenARNDT, BerlinSolo
2001Massimo Vitali - All too HumanARNDT, BerliSolo
2000Beach & DiscoGalerie Fotohof, SalzburgSolo
2000Massimo VitaliStudio Guenzani, MilanSolo
1999Massimo VitaliGalerie du Jour Agnès B, Paris, FranceSolo
1999Massimo VitaliLe Quartz, Brest, FranceSolo
1999Photography from the Martin z. Margulies CollectionThe Art Museum at Florida International University, Miami, USAGroup
1999The Big Picture: Large Format PhotographyMiddlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, USAGroup
1998Recontres Internationales de la PhotoArles, FranceSolo
1998Massimo VitaliMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York, USASolo
1998Massimo VitaliAtheneum, Université de la Bourgogne, Dijon, FranceSolo
1998España 98Madrid, SpainGroup
1998Italian Photojournalism around 1968Triennale, Milan, ItalyGroup
1998Paesaggi ItalianiGallerie degli Uffizi, Florence, ItalyGroup
1997Massimo VitaliPhotographer's Gallery, London, UKSolo
1997Massimo VitaliStudio Guenzini, Milan, ItalySolo
1997Un Paese UnicoMuseo Alinari, Florence, ItalyGroup
1997Europa, Encontros de fotografiaCoimbra, PortugalGroup
1997Postwar Italian PhotojournalismVilla Bottini, Lucca, ItalyGroup
1997Sguardigardesani, with Gabriele BasilicoMuseo Civico, Riva del Garda, ItalyGroup
1995Massimo VitaliGalleria ConsArc, Spiagge Italiane, Chiasso, SwitzerlandSolo
1994Massimo VitaliHistorisches Archiv der Stadt Köln, East German Panoramas, Cologne, GermanySolo
1993Massimo VitaliBiennale Internazionale di Fotografia, Turin, ItalySolo