Museo ICO presents “Gabriele Basilico. Entropy and Urban Space“,the first comprehensive retrospective of this Italian photographer in Spain. The exhibition of Basilico, known as The photographer of the city, explores his stylistic and conceptual evolution throughout his career, from the romantic view of his early days in search of visual order amid the apparent chaos of the postmodern metropolis.
A total of 185 photographs, a selection of over 70 books published by the Milanese photographer over the years and four videos offer us a view of his work throughout his photographic career. The show is part of the Official Section of PHotoEspaña 2017 and may be visited until 10 September.
Gabriele Basilico. Entropy and Urban Space
May 30 to September 10, 2017
C/ Zorrilla, 3, 28014, Madrid
Curated by Ramón Esparza and with the collaboration from Giovanna Calvenzi and Studio Gabriele Basilico, “Entropy and Urban Space“ explores the stylistic and conceptual evolution of Basilico throughout his career, from the romantic view of his early days in search of visual order amid the apparent chaos of the postmodern metropolis. The title refers to Basilico’s conceptual evolution over the years in an attempt to portray the changes within it.
The exhibition comprises 185 photographs, a selection of over 70 books published by Basilico over the years and four videos on various aspects of his work offering a general view of his entire photographic career. The show begins with the first series focusing on landscape and architecture, Milano, ritratti di fabbriche [Milan Factory Portraits],and ends with images of some modern cities, such as Rio de Janeiro or Shanghai.
The retrospective that is shown at Museo ICO is divided into five series. The exhibition begins with the first series dedicated by Gabriele Basilico to architecture, Milano, ritratti di fabbriche (1979), for which he photographed all the industrial buildings in Milan. He was then invited to take part in the DATAR Mission in France, capturing images of the Normandy coastline (Porti di mare). His fame began to spread and commissions arrived from all over Europe. In Spain, he took part in photographic projects in Madrid, Bilbao, Valencia, Barcelona, Lérida and Santiago. Always focused on cities undergoing severe economic and urban transformations.
The idea of loss, the romantic sentiment of ruin, is the backbone of them all, while in search of aesthetic criteria to enable such transformations to be assimilated. One project, however, that deeply marked his vision and set the foundations for the end of this stage, although the end would arrive years later.
In 1991 he was invited, along with other photographers, to visit Beirut to document the city centre after twenty years of war. The rest of the group was formed by important figures such as Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, Raymond Depardon, René Burri and Lebanese photographer Fouad Elkoury.
The key to the “deromanticisation” of his photography lies in the project which, together with architect Stefano Boeri, he presented in 1997 at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In Sezioni del paesaggio italiano, Boeri offered a very different approach to land, more topographic than emotional. Six strips measuring fifty by twelve kilometres traversed by a long motorway made up the scene photographed by Basilico: spaces with no memory, no identity. The true essence of the peri-urban.
From this project onwards, Basilico’s view changes radically. He replaces the quest of the romantic traveller with that of the modern one who travels by car and his aesthetic pursuit focuses on articulating a new perspective, stripped of any romantic elements, focused on the acceptance of urban and peri-urban spaces and on formulating a new visual order capable of enabling its appreciation, both sociologically and aesthetically.
A quest that leads him to focus on the city, always following itineraries from the centre to the periphery, or the outskirts, gradually moving towards the figure of the metropolis and the interrupted city.