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Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place

Interdisciplinary Perspectives


Edited By Marina Spunta and Jacopo Benci

The photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992) was one of the most significant Italian artists of the late twentieth century. This volume – the first scholarly book-length publication on Ghirri to appear in English – introduces his photographic and critical work to a broader audience and positions Ghirri as a key voice within global artistic debates. It breaks new ground by approaching Ghirri’s œuvre from a wide range of interdisciplinary perspectives, in order to take account of the breadth of his interests, the variety of his projects and the far-reaching impact of his work as a practitioner, writer, theorist and curator, both in the field of photography and beyond. Drawing on different approaches from disciplines including art history, theory of photography, literary and cultural studies, architecture, cartography, and place and landscape studies, the essays in the volume show how Ghirri redefined contemporary photography and helped shape the «spatial» or «landscape» turn in Italy and further afield.


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Part II: Luigi Ghirri’s Photography in an Interdisciplinary Dialogue


part ii Luigi Ghirri’s Photography in an Interdisciplinary Dialogue Tania Rossetto 6 Luigi Ghirri’s Cartographic Portrayals: A Review through Map Theory Positioning Luigi Ghirri within the ‘map art’ phenomenon A ‘geographical paradigm’ seems to have affected the arts in recent times.1 The robust exchange between art practice and criticism on the one hand and spatial sciences and their conceptual vocabulary on the other has resulted in emerging fields of inquiry which have been defined as ‘geohumanities’, or a ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities.2 Within this general and heterogene- ous trend, a specific ‘cartographic turn’ can be recognized. Even though cartographic motifs have increased in artists’ work since the 1960s, the rela- tionship between maps and art has been vigorously transformed during the last twenty years, leading to an explosion of map imagery in art practice.3 Major contributing factors in this rapid rise of the map in art have been the digital transition, with the subsequent growing ubiquity of maps and the emergence of themes such as global networks, transnationalism, borders, mobility and power spatial asymmetries.4 As Katharine Harmon observed, it is particularly in postmodern times that the relationship between maps 1 Cf. Francesco Tedeschi, Il mondo ridisegnato: arte e geografia nella contemporaneità (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2011), p. 4. 2 Michael Dear et al., eds, GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place (New York: Routledge, 2011); Michael Dear et al., eds, The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (London and New York: Routledge, 2009). 3 Ruth Watson, ‘Mapping and Contemporary...

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