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Luigi Ghirri and the Photography of Place

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

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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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8 Landscapes in Music: Luigi Ghirri and Record Covers (Raffaella Perna)

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← 162 | 163 →

RAFFAELLA PERNA

8   Landscapes in Music: Luigi Ghirri and Record Covers

In an interview given in 1989, Luigi Ghirri spoke of his passion for music: ‘Roland Barthes says that there is an area where gaze and sound are similar, it might be that I am attracted by this mysterious harmony and that this is why I love music so much’.1 He went on to say that he particularly loved the songs written by Bob Dylan, because they conveyed the same sentiment of ‘being in the world’ that can be found in the paintings of Pieter Bruegel: a sense of amazement that invades our daily life, which sheds a different light on it. ‘Every time it’s about renewing the sense of amazement, of wonder brought on by what is other’, Ghirri said, ‘I believe this is all one can ask of a poem, a painting, a song and a photograph’ (Niente di antico, 298).

In the period this interview was given, the photography of Ghirri was starting to acquire, maybe in a more evident way compared to the past, the qualities of intangibility and abstraction which can be found in music: the photos taken in this period of activity – images that are, according to Gianni Celati, ‘at the limit of what is photographically possible’2 – where ← 163 | 164 → the objects are almost dissolved in haziness, possess the elusiveness and lightness of sound. After all, music is one of Ghirri’s strongest cultural interests...

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