Olivo Barbieri, Ersatz Lights. Case study #1 east west
scientific coordination by Laura Gasparini. In collaboration with Regione Emilia Romagna, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia and Villa Manin (Passariano)
By “ERSATZ LIGHTS” we mean everything we have invented as a substitute for natural light – as a surrogate of sunlight. Light, moreover, is an essential element in the ‘syntax’ of photography and of the artist’s poetic expression. In a visual language that is constantly challenged by the photographer himself, in this project the key of interpretation of reality is artificial lighting – from Eastern megalopolises, like those in China and India, to the sprawling suburban areas of European cities, including the Italian landscape so powerfully and culturally defined by Olivo Barbieri (1954) through his strong emphasis on focus-setting and balance of colours – showing some aspects of reality and of his approach that are truly unique and previously unseen.
The exhibit brings together images shot over a working period spanning thirty years. The photographs have been chosen by the artist himself searching through his extensive archive. The selection consists of around 200 images in which the spatial expressions of the East and of the West are approached through a single common element: artificial lighting. Europe, Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Cairo, the United States, and many other countries are chronicled and portrayed through a sequence of images that connect subjects and forms, sometimes also shown in the daylight.