Eni is the main partner of the exhibition Olivo Barbieri. Immagini 1978-2014, at the Maxxi from 29 May to 9 November 2015. A large retrospective that covers, in seven sections, the various themes and areas of interest around which the work of Olivo Barbieri has developed.
"I have never been interested in photography, but in images. And I think my work begins where photography ends." The idea behind the exhibition was shaped by this apparently paradoxical claim by the artist and takes the form of an itinerary that forms a unique, critical and reasoned reading of the work of one of the most important contemporary Italian photographers.
Olivo Barbieri is one of the great Italian photographers and this retrospective show is a tribute to his work. Both photographs and films illustrate his development from the end of the ’70s up to the present: from the first Flippers discovered in an abandoned factory that play with the decadent icons of the modern, to the alienating urban nighttime images counterbalanced by images of faces and landscapes of paintings in museums; from explorations of Italian cities and suburbs in the 1980s, frequent journeys to China and the Far East, right up to the visions from above of the ’90s.
The exhibition includes over 100 works organised in the following seven sections:
- A journey around Italy (1980 – 1983) a period in which Barbieri focused on the towns and landscapes of the Italian provinces, without any folkloristic intent, in an attempt to remain loyal to simple visual facts.
- Images (1977 – 2007) including images shot inside an abandoned factory in which the icons of post-war American culture, from pin ups to science fiction, cowboys and the Beatles, become the ruins of that same modernity that, like its myths, is in disintegration.
- Artificial Illuminations (1982 – 2014) in which images of almost immaterial and phantasmagorical cities of impossible colours are the protagonists.
- China (1989 – 2014) dedicated to the journeys to the East that from 1989 were a constant Barbieri’s life: India, Tibet, Japan, but, above all, China.
- Virtual Truths (1996 – 2002) illustrating the initial experiments in “selective focusing‘, a technique that, through the use of special lenses, makes it possible to focus on a single part of an image, leaving the rest out of focus.
- Site Specific (2003 – 2013) a project that used a helicopter, flying low over more than 40 cities around the world.
- Parks (2006 – 2014) in which the protagonist is man’s relationship with nature.