Luigi Ghirri. The Map and the Territory
Exhibition portfolio

“I’ve tried not to get caught up in trends and genres, and for this reason I have tried to work in various directions simultaneously, to allow for a continual process of thought and cross-fertilisation. My aim is not to make PHOTOGRAPHS but rather CHARTS and MAPS that might at the same time constitute photographs.”

Luigi Ghirri

Published in conjunction with the Jeu de Paume’s exhibition The Map and the Territory, this portfolio contains forty images encapsulating the work of Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992) in the 1970s. He worked for the most part outside, walking the streets of Modena, with a small Canon camera in hand, making what he called “minimal journeys” out to the suburbs. Occasionally he ventured further afield, on holiday trips to Amsterdam, Paris and the Swiss Alps. He photographed a wide range of subjects, from suburban houses and gardens to beaches and fairgrounds, pages in an atlas, and people looking at maps or posing for the camera. He arranged his photographs into groups, which he came to view as “open works”.

Adopting an unpretentious approach to the medium, Ghirri started out by working solely in colour, at a time when black and-white was synonymous with serious work in the medium, a choice that positioned his work away from the mainstream and closer to both amateur, “weekend” photography and Conceptual Art. Reflecting on the nature of the medium, the language of images and their role in the making of modern identities, Ghirri charted the changing contours of modern life in a European culture poised between old and new.

By the end of his first, formative decade, Ghirri had shaped a body of work that was without parallel in Europe at that time: a profound and poetic reflection on the popular medium of photography.

Texts by James Lingwood

Softback, 22 × 31 cm, 48 pages, 40 colour ill.
Bilingual French / English
Publisher: Jeu de Paume

Price: 9.50 euros

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