"I do not mistrust reality, of which I know next to nothing, but I am suspicious regarding the image of reality which our senses convey to us, and which is incomplete and limited. Our eyes have developed such as to survive. It is merely coincidence that we can see stars with them as well."—Gerhard Richter
Luigi Ghirri, who passed away in 1992, was many things in his 49 years: a writer, curator, land surveyor, photographer, and conceptual artist. It is through his color photography that he is best known. His 1978 self-published monograph, Kodachrome, has influenced numerous artists and was re-printed to great acclaim last November. Currently (and for the first time in the United States), the accompanying exhibit of 25 vintage works is on display at Matthew Marks in NYC.
Ghirri pursued his philosophical ideas using photography as a medium for deciphering form and meaning. His cool, smooth, Kodachrome view of the world is an attempt to mine significance from the signs surrounding us. Engaging with his work is to join him in grappling with universal questions of identity, place, and reality. Are his photographs, then, aspirations for some cathartic truth? Don’t let the ironic, understated images fool you, Luigi Ghirri is enjoining us to think deeply and critically about what we see and know. —Lane Nevares