In the period of a little less than a decade that he spent behind the lens of his camera, Luigi Ghirri donned some of the most remarkable examples of documentary photography. His work in the fields of architecture and landscape photography is widely celebrated for its importance, not just in his homeland of Italy, but the world at large too.
La Triennale in Milano is now offering an insight into the oeuvre of the famous Emilian photographer, with an exhibition including more than 350 original prints and screened images, many of which have never been shown before.
In addition, there will also be a selection of publications and other materials that illustrate Ghirri’s extraordinary talent as a critic and publisher.
Luigi Ghirri’s foray into photography began in 1983, when he approached architecture while working for Lotus International magazine. This turned out to be a long-lasting, fruitful partnership, resulting in numerous projects and visual lessons on how reality can be perceived differently.
While working on architecture commissions, the photographer also produced his own imagery, developing a style and a spirit that simply cannot be mistaken for any other artist’s work.
In a unique manner, Ghirri explored contemporary landscapes in relation to architecture with a keen eye for structure and an elaborate sense of color. Notable are his portfolios Paesaggio italiano from 1989, as well as the 1991 Atlante Metropolitano, which could be also described as atmospheric, and even poetic.
Apart from the phenomenal photographic work, what makes the Luigi Ghirri: The Landscape of Architecture exhibition stand out is the way it is presented. La Triennale di Milano teamed up with Sonia Calzoni and Pierluigi Cerri of Calzoni Architetti, who created an intriguing display installation and graphic design.
The showcase begins on a slightly raised level, giving an overview of the entire exhibition area. The thematic sections are indicated through colored neon lights, while the original prints by Ghirri are suspended on tall pedestals against these backdrops.
Here, we can also see a cage construction, inspired by Ghirri’s photographs of Achille Castiglioni’s installation for the Triennale in 1986, as well as five large-format screenings shown one after another.
This significant survey stands to remind us of the fundamental steps that Luigi Ghirri took towards a freer conception of architecture, which are still more than relevant today.
His photographs leave us in appreciation of what he managed to create until his premature death in 1992, at the age of 49.
Featured images: Luigi Ghirri - Marina di Ravenna, 1986. © Heirs of Luigi Ghirri / Courtesy Editoriale Lotus; Luigi Ghirri - San Vito d'Altivole, 1983, Carlo Scarpa, Cimitero - Tomba Brion. © Heirs of Luigi Ghirri / Courtesy Editoriale Lotus. All images courtesy La Triennale di Milano.