The photography of Gabriele Basilico and paintings of Salvo are the subject of PAESAGGIO CONTEMPORANEO. Dialoghi tra fotografia e pittura (“CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE. The Dialogue between Photography and Painting”), an exhibition running from September 17 to November 17, 2002 at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo (inauguration September 16 at 6 p.m.).
This two-man show, curated by GAMeC Director Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, offers the public an opportunity to make an up-close comparison of photography and painting on the same theme: the contemporary landscape seen through the metallic, high-contrast midday light of Basilico, and the dawn, dusk, and nighttime light of Salvo. Two different approaches to the same subject, landscape, and the ways in which man perceives, imagines, inhabits, and changes it.
Realized in collaboration with IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno) of Valencia, the exhibition complements the donation of 12 large photographic works by Basilico, part of a series on Bergamo executed by the artist on commission by ACEB (Association of Building Contractors of the Province of Bergamo), that were donated to GAMeC by ACEB.
Gabriele Basilico (Milan, 1944) has specialized for years in rigorously black and white photography of the modern landscape, recorded “not in terms of the grand monuments of modern architecture,” as Di Pietrantonio observes, “but rather as documentation of urban and rural reality where the orthogonal architecture of modernity has dissolved into anonymity, representing not the uniqueness but rather the uniformity of our contemporary landscape.”
A series of this prolific photographer’s works documenting the cities of Berlin, Milan, and Valencia, from the collection of the IVAM (Istituto Valenciano de Arte Moderna) in Valencia, are on exhibition together with the photographs that Basilico took in Bergamo, with the latter being exhibited here for the first time in public.
“From Salvo’s (Leonforte, Enna, 1947) opus, comprised of paintings characterized by their strong, acid, psychedelic hues, I have chosen,” continues the curator, “only those landscapes that feature architecture: classical ruins, mosques, churches, stations, bars, villages and cities. They manifest the attention devoted by the artist to the fact that it is still possible to paint landscapes, vest them with a new image, and give shape to the idea of a place”.
Gabriele Basilico undertook his photographic study of architecture and city planning at the end of the 1970’s and received his first international recognition in the mid-1980’s. He proceeded to receive public commissions, work in collaboration with public entities and research institutes, and pursue independent study. He was ultimately awarded with the Osella d’oro at the Venice Biennale in 1996 as best architectural photographer and subsequently exhibited his work in prestigious venues such as the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the Centro Cultural de Belèm in Lisbon (1996), the Kwangju Biennial (Korea, 1997), IVAM in Valencia, and the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires. His works are included in, among others, the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Fondation Cartier, and the Maison Europeénne de la Photographie (Paris), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Trento e Rovereto, and the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid).
Salvo , who has been active since the 1970’s, made a very early “return to painting” after working for the first half of that decade on a conceptual study of the themes of history, the image, and memory through photography, writing, neon, and marble engraving. This exhibition instead documents his pictorial work, on which he has concentrated since 1973. In addition to having participated at Documenta 5 in Kassel (1972) and the XLI Biennale of Venice (1984), the artist has had one-man shows at GAM in Bologna (1998), the Boyamns van Beuningen Musuem in Rotterdam, and the Contemporary Art Museum in Nîmes (both in 1988), at the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne (1983), and the Wolfgang Museum in Essen (1977).