“Calais”, 1985. Black and white silver print on baryta paper.
| GABRIELE BASILICO / GALLERY ANNE BARAULT “Monuments embarrass me I have no affection for the castles.” Said Gabriele Basilico. Born in Italy, the land of ancient ruins, the Italian documentary photographer, however, was little nostalgic. He became famous for his obsession with the modern city, with its layers of stacked past with varying degrees of charm and care. Italian photographer, who seared the city picture, died Wednesday, February 13, as a result of lung cancer.
Graduated in architecture in 1973, Gabriele Basilico first uses of photography as a tool … before realizing it’s much more fun than work as an architect. He then became a photographer, but uses the image in connection with its formation, to analyze, dissect, explain urban structures. “I look at the urban as the doctor on the patient,” he told Le Monde in 2006.
After gaining experience as an architectural photographer for publishing, industry, public and private institutions, it is revealed to the public by the mission of the Delegation to the development of the regional territory (Datar) in 1985, this major project the French government? ais, which evokes the blueprint Mission 1851, wants to take a picture of the social and geographical territory of France in the 1980s. Gabriele Basilico is part of the first wave of this great campaign (29 photographers). He is also the one who knows best reconcile the artist’s vision and analysis of urban transformation – the work will lead to a book, Seaside, published in 1990 and reissued since.
THIS RECOVERY OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
Responsible for processing the seashores, the Belgian border at Mont-Saint-Michel, it is his style: front and contrasting photographs, black and white, without concession to the picturesque. Far from the image on the sly, he puts his heavy front room where live the coasts, facing the sea, tourist buildings in 1960 and houses a traditional resort. Focused on his subject, he removes humans. While landscape photography is not popular in France at the time, the company’s back in the saddle. Number of photographers will be influenced by the overall look of Basilico, never isolated elements but shows the links between the different elements of the landscape, the bati from different eras and the natural constraints (slopes, cliffs, water bodies) .
For nearly forty years, Gabriele Basilico roams cities around the world, often on the basis of orders, trying each time a particular point of view which would give the keys to the local spatial organization – at ground level, Perched on a hill, on top of a building … For each mission, it documents a lot, made visits with historians and planners, then let entered have dinner with the pace of the city. He photographed Beirut and its ruins in 1991. It shows Moscow, with all its buildings in height, and stacked winding Monaco or San Francisco city structured by roads. And Milan, his hometown, he loves, “modern city in chaos.” His images have won numerous awards and exhibitions, including a retrospective at the European House of Photography in 2006.
From continent to continent, from country to country, Gabriele Basilico was the picture of modern megacities, which despite their nuances eventually all look. Like a big “world city” anarchic built without plan and especially without the idea of ??collective. “The architects and decision-makers are unable to manage urban development. From city to city, I see the devastation. The works of the great architects, good or bad, are the result of a defeat, that of making city ??utopian collective life. They are proof that nobody thinks planning as a whole. sense of shared history is lost. ” Faced with globalization, “a reality that must be accepted”, the photographer has never paid into pessimism or lost his curiosity. After the color, he had recently made photographs of Rio de Janeiro where he was for a time put to integrate human traces. Eager to collaborations with other artists, he led various community projects whose book Unidentified Modern City project with artist Dan Graham published in 2011 by Presses du Reel.
Read also: the testimony of the Italian architect Stefano Boeri.
On the Web: a tribute photographer Ferdinando Scianna (Doppiozero).