Art is divine

Images of images

Alessandra Cenna





FEBRUARY 12 - JUNE 2, 2019




Luigi Ghirri, Modena, 1973. CSAC, Università di Parma © Succession Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Marina di Ravenna, 1972.

Bibliothèque nationale de France © Succession Luigi Ghirri


















A  first European retrospective dedicated to the photographer, Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992), has just been inaugurated at the Jeu de Paume.

Luigi Ghirri, Lido di spina, 1974 © Succession Luigi Ghirri




The Italian artist, geometer of formation, puts in scene the landscapes of his native province, Emilia Romagna, in the years 1970. 


He was particularly interested in all the transformations that the man brings to the nature and realizes images with a silent and yet talking atmosphere.


With Luigi Ghirri, the scenes of everyday life take on color at a time when black-and-white photographs were imposing their nobility.


Far from the pop hues of William Eggleston, Luigi Ghirri plays the card of tender with soft and cold nuances. 


Subtle poet, he has a very sociological vision of the Italy of his time that he dissects through scenarios in the context of billboards. For him, the real world is a «colossal photograph» in which we live in photomontages.


Another peculiarity of his visual signature, his frontal framing gives an impression of tactile proximity with his subjects.

Luigi Ghirri has traveled the familiar streets of Modena, illuminating the houses and gardens of his city from a very personal angle.


Its beaches have a very special light mixing present emotion and solitary nostalgia. As for amusement parks, they are real festivals of illusion similar to the «country of Pinocchio toys».

Luigi Ghirri, Rimini, 1977. CSAC, Università di Parma © Succession Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Orbetello, 1974 © Succession Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Rimini, 1977 © Succession Luigi Ghirri



In his famous book, Kodachrome of 1978, his series show images of images, details of topographic maps and atlases, because «the only possible journey today is in signs, in images».

It is in his shots of heaven, taken at the same place for 365 days, that Luigi Ghirri expressed the inability of photography to fix the ultimate moment of a natural phenomenon.

Several thousand shots were taken during this decade. His singular style has sought to discover simple details like a window or a kitsch object and to present them in majesty in all their aesthetics as imperfect as touching. Its display cases and mirrors reflect infinitely a fictional perception of a world of myths steeped in logos and images. 

Far from reaching a vision of despair, Luigi Ghirri’s absurd world is full of humor.

A pioneer in his analysis, Luigi Ghirri was able to disassemble objects and subjects while keeping their magic beyond the veil of artifice.

He has led a real reflection on the reality of the place of the image in our world in visual overconsumption. 

He had sensed the «destruction of experience» by the rise of the virtual as a misery cache of a personal culture in impoverishment, and decor of a fantasized life more than realized.

Luigi Ghirri, an eye, a look, a vision ... to rediscover, to discover.




until June 2, 2019 - Jeu de Paume - 

Tuileries Gardens Paris

Luigi Ghirri, ‘∞’ Infinito, 1974 © Succession Luigi Ghirri