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Olivo Barbieri


L’ idea del luogo


With the solo presentation of the Italian Olivo Barbieri, FOTOHOF continues its series of important European positions in contemporary photography. Since the mid-1980s, Barbieri has consistently dealt with urban space, whereby his interest in common global structures has repeatedly led him to distant countries.
Barbieri focuses above all on the tension between old and new culture, which he finds not only in his native Italy but increasingly in distant countries such as China, India or Japan. It is not the topographical description of a place, but rather the idea of the place – “L’idea del luogo” that preoccupies the artist and provides the background for his large-format works.
The direct intervention in the process of depiction – the artist deliberately violates the rules of focussing – results in planes of blur on the image that only suggest a residue of reality. Reality seemingly mutates into model-like images of the respective places and living spaces. By means of his idiosyncratic photographic technique, which he translates into large-format “panel paintings” reminiscent of painting, Barbieri concentrates his gaze on what is essential to him and thereby transmits the aura of a place, consisting of architecture and the people who live in these places, to the viewer.

Olivo Barbieri, »Italia«, Siena, 2002, C-Print, Plexiglas