Olivo Barbieri
Italian, born 1954
Represented by industry leading galleries.
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Alps: Geographies and people,
Matthew Liu Fine Arts
LUX: The Radiant Sea,
Yancey Richardson Gallery
Highlights from the Architecture + Design Collection,
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

With his lush, large-format photographs that walk the line between the real and the surreal, Olivo Barbieri challenges perception and confounds expectations. In his teasing, humorous work, the real becomes fake and the fake becomes real. As he describes: “All my work is about perception. It’s a deconstruction of the normal way of seeing.” His “Site Specific” series (2003-) exemplifies the way in which he uses his camera to make the familiar seem strange. Hovering in a helicopter above major world cities, Barbieri takes photographs from a bird’s-eye view, selectively focusing on only one element in the frame, often an iconic architectural monument, while leaving its surroundings blurred. The effect is both stunningly beautiful and bizarre: paradoxically grand and miniaturized, familiar cityscapes become shrunken toy landscapes with dollhouse buildings and miniscule inhabitants.