The Photographer. Gabriele Basilico

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“Monuments embarrass me. I have no friendship for castles” , said Gabriele Basilico. Born in Italy, the land of ancient ruins, the Italian documentary photographer, however, was little nostalgic. He is famous for his obsession of the modern city, with its layers of past stacked with more or less charm and care.

Experiences as a photographer of architecture for publishing, industry, public and private institutions, it is revealed to the public by the mission of the Delegation for Regional Planning (Datar) in 1985: this great project of the French government, which evokes the Mission heliographic 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 eye and analysis of urban transformation – the work will lead to a book, Seaside , published in 1990 and reprinted from .

Officer treating the seaside, the Belgian border at Mont-Saint-Michel, he finds his style: photographs front and contrasting black and white, without concession to the picturesque. Far from the image on the sly, he places his heavy face coastlines room where live, facing the sea, tourist buildings of the 1960s and traditional vacation homes. Focused on the subject, it evacuates humans. While landscape photography is very popular in France at the time, the business back in the saddle. Many photographers will be influenced by the overall look of Basilico, who never insulate the elements but shows the links between the different elements of the landscape, built from different eras and the natural constraints (elevation, cliffs, lakes).

For nearly forty years, Gabriele Basilico will walk the 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 – flush ground, perched on a hill, on top of a building … For each mission, it documents a lot, made visits with historians and planners, and carried away by the rhythm of the city. He photographed Beirut and its ruins in 1991. It shows Moscow, its buildings while high, Monaco and stacked crooked city or San Francisco, structured by roads. And Milan, his hometown, he likes “modern city in chaos” . His images have won numerous awards and exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 2006.

continent to continent, from country to country, Gabriele Basilico was the table of modern megacities, which despite their nuances eventually all look alike. Like a great “world city” anarchic built without a previous plan, and especially without the idea of ​​community. “The architects and policy makers are unable to manage urban development. From city to city, I see the devastation. works of great architects, good or bad, are the result of a defeat of the make the city a utopian community life. they are proof that nobody thinks urbanism as a whole. You lose the sense of common history. “ the face of globalization, ” a reality that we must accept “, the photographer has never paid into pessimism or lost his curiosity. Past the color, he had recently made photographs of Rio de Janeiro where he was for a time made to integrate human traces. Eager for collaborations with other artists, he led various community projects whose book Unidentified Modern City , a project with artist Dan Graham published in 2011 by Presses du Reel. (via)