The exhibition Luigi Ghirri e Modena. Un viaggio a ritroso is curated by Daniele De Luigi as a part of Vedere Oltre, a programme of events for 2022 to celebrate the great photographer Luigi Ghirri 30 years after his death.The rich calendar of events is promoted by the town of Reggio Emilia together with Modena and Parma, with support from the Emilia-Romagna regional government and APT Servizi Emilia-Romagna. The exhibition is in collaboration with Archivio Luigi Ghirri, Reggio Emilia.
Luigi Ghirri e Modena, showing until 20 November 2022, follows the career of the great Emilian photographer through over 60 photos from the municipality of Modena's Galleria Civica collection and the Fondazione di Modena photographic collection, both managed by FMAV. Born in the province of Reggio Emilia in 1943, Ghirri lived in Modena from his teenage years until just before his premature death in 1992. While maintaining close contact with Reggio Emilia and Parma, Modena was the site of his cultural formation and the development of his artistic career.
The exhibition goes back in time from the second half of the 1980s to his debut period between 1970 and 1973, starting with photographs taken from the Versailles and Il profilo delle nuvole (The Outline of the Clouds) series which marked a turning point in Italian landscape photography (and were among the works founding the Fondazione di Modena contemporary photography collection in 2009),and rounded off with some extraordinary vintage prints from the Fondo Franco Fontana donated to the municipality of Modena’s Galleria Civica in 1991.Other important sets of works in the exhibition include images of Modena’s old town centre, photographs interpreting the architecture of Paolo Portoghesi and Aldo Rossi (some previously unseen), and a large set of photographs from Colazione sull’erba (Luncheon on the Grass), made between 1972 and 1974.
The exhibition will also feature books, photographs and archive documents – some of which on public display for the first time –tracing Ghirri’s cultural growth and the profound impact of his work in Modena on the culture of photography in Italy: from his seminal work alongside Modenese conceptual artists such as Franco Guerzoni, Carlo Cremaschi, Claudio Parmiggiani and Giuliano DellaCasa to his pioneering activities both in the publishing field, with the Punto & Virgola publishing house venture, and as curator and promoter of numerous experimental photography exhibitions at Modena’s Galleria Civica together withOscar Goldoni, the institution’s driving force at the time and peer of Ghirri’s who also died 30 years ago this year.
At a time when the world and the way it was represented were starting to blur, and mass media civilization was altering our perception of reality, Ghirri set out on an untiring search to give the act of photography a new sense. And so he continued to point his lens at the apparent banality of everyday life around us, in order that vision could once more generate astonishment and bring thought to life.His ability to anticipate many topics of contemporary photography and research has led to Ghirri’s recent universal recognition as an undisputed maestroat an international level. The exhibition aims to use Luigi Ghirri’s corpus of Modenese works to recreate the exceptionality of his work in the place where they were made. It was work that changed the course of photography in Italy, not only through his original vision and thought, but also his passion for the medium of photography.Moreover, his human side enabled him to create a great many friendships and partnerships that went well beyond the field of photography.