Right: Paolo Icaro, Groviglio, sinapsi, 1972.  Left: Luigi Ghirri, Fontanellato, 1985.

For the second part of the research programme related to the Fondo Luigi Ghirri, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia has envisaged a project focussing on photography and sculpture, creating a new opportunity for development between artistic languages.

After the 2015 Paesaggi d’aria: Luigi Ghirri and Yona Friedman exhibition, which saw the work of the Emilia Romagna photographer resonate with the famous Hungarian architect’s visionary theory, this year the invitation was accepted by a great master of contemporary sculpture, Paolo Icaro.

The Turin sculptor views architecture as the exploration of a place. His works are intimate constructions, memories which trace the coordinates of a possibility of living, of portable landscapes. This possibility is created thanks to minimal iron and stone elements which work with flexibility and fragmentation, stability and collapse. His structures evoke a mental spatiality which is the recollection of places, a subject dear to Luigi Ghirri’s photos in which everyday experiences become mythology. Luigi Ghirri examines the landscape with the aim of obtaining a result that is far from the stereotype of a tourist illustration, going in search of signs and traces of the places history and “memory zones”, which only the imagination can evoke in the present.

The exhibition in the Scarpa Area of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia will display the private landscapes of these two artists, selecting works from Ghirri’s Profilo delle nuvole (1989) to hang alongside works specially chosen by Icaro from his output from the 1960s until the present. The relationship with sculpture opens photography up to a more intense dialogue with the exhibition space and permits a direct relationship between the two artists with Carlo Scarpa’s architecture, a visual extension and a landscape in itself within which the emotive idea of making a place “in the flow of time” is arranged. A work Icaro created specifically for the ‘Column Room’ in the Carlo Scarpa Area will be presented at the exhibition.

Photography, sculpture and architecture, expressions of three great masters of the twentieth century, will be offered to the public in a synthesis which critically combinestheir specific linguistic possibilities: offering, constructing and representing the space in an osmosis which blends each discipline in a surreal equilibrium between different visions in a gamble which has inspired the title of this show, which recalls Neruda and Magritte.

The exhibition has been organised together with Galleria P420 in Bologna with the support of the Galleria Massimo Minini in Brescia.

We are planning the publication of the Fondo Luigi Ghirri Notebook no. 2, which will contain the minutes of the study day to be organised at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia during the exhibition.

Fondo Luigi Ghirri
In September 2015 the contemporary art collector Roberto Lombardi loaned the Querini Stampalia a nucleus of works by Luigi Ghirri. The Fondo includes thirty-one photos, a large number of which belong to the Il profilo delle nuvole series and date to 1985-1990. The cycle is conceived as an artist’s book: a story of the Po Valley between the Veneto, Emilia and Lombardy regions. Retracing the places photographed, the artist does not respect topographic positions, but follows an itinerary entirely shaped by associative memory: melancholy, imprecision of memory, a sense of suspension and enchantment are the feelings which animate this journey of his. Ghirri developed the project with Gianni Celati, whose companion text narrates his photographer friend’s images. The digitalised and catalogued Fondo Luigi Ghirri will be made available to scholars. There will be regular research activities and analyses thanks to juxtapositions and parallels with a variety of artists and authors following various thematic and critical directions. A series of notebooks will be published containing the results emerging from each of these activities.

Curated by Chiara Bertola and Giuliano Sergio


Fondazione Querini Stampalia 
Santa Maria Formosa, Castello 5252
30122 Venice |  Italy


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