Nice to see powerhouse Matthew Marks Gallery taking on the great but unheralded (in America) Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri. Outside of his retrospective at Aperture, I think Ghirri has gone completely unseen in Chelsea. It seems that the efforts of Roe Ethridge to reconfigure what people expect from photography may have breathed some life into Ghirri’s delightful work. Like Ethridge, Ghirri’s work has often appeared as random assortments of photographic styles, linked more by sensibility or a sense of place than any real concrete theme.
Ghirri has often mixed a sense of wonder into his world, where mannequins float above the street and beaches are inexplicably bisected by a black bar. The vision he creates is vision often referred to as surreal, but it is really closer to a loveable absurdity, mixed with keen observations of the visual wonders to be had in the small details of life. And like Brassi and Kertesz and other photographers of the 20’s, he mixes the absurd, the every day, the downright formal, with an occasional street shot or traditional landscape to portray an Italy that is as weird as it is welcoming, not unlike the working method of Ethridge’s great Rockaway work. It is nice to see the old man getting some shine.
Through Apr. 20th