Greg Neville, installation view of Luigi Ghirri exhibition, Venice Biennale 2011
The Central Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has a wall of photographs by the late Italian photographer, Luigi Ghirri. I’m not sure what they contributed to the Biennale theme, Illuminations, but these small colour photographs were enjoyable, and in their way subversive when the standard Biennale artwork is a room-size installation.
Ghirri was a well known photographer with a dry sense of humour. His mild but witty photographs of everyday things contain purely photographic messages, minute observations of the visual world that would not sustain a painting or even a drawing.
He exhibited and published his work widely in Europe, and was introduced to the U.S. by Nathan Lyons of the Visual Studies Workshop. It’s worth noting the similarity between the work of Ghirri and Nathan Lyons who once published a book of his own, rather similar photographs, with a title that sums up this approach to photography: Notations in Passing.
Luigi Ghirri, Modena 1972