site specific Chicago 2010 #06

About Olivo Barbieri

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.

Italian, b. 1954, Modena, Italy, based in Rome, Italy

Exhibition Highlights On Artsy

Alps: Geographies and people, Matthew Liu Fine Arts, Shanghai
Olivo Barbieri: Adriatic Sea (staged) Dancing People, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
Highlights from the Architecture + Design Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco
Olivo Barbieri: Alps, Geographies and People, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
The Dolomites Project, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York