“I sought the future and past catastrophe of the social in geology, in that upturning of depth that can be seen in the striated spaces, the reliefs of salt and stone, the canyons where the fossil river flows down, the immemorial abyss of slowness that shows itself in the erosion and geology. I even looked for it in the verticality of the metropolises.” - Jean Baudrillard
Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to present The Dolomites Project, an exhibition by Italian photographer Olivo Barbieri, which tells the story of mountains as designed architecture, where the risk and limit of sustainability is the same as what prompted Baudrillard’s prescient observation as far back as 1986. According to Barbieri, “seascapes, great waterfalls, mountains, and old city centers have become fragile theme parks. Entertainment has virtually replaced the sublime. The veduta genre of megalopolises may, by dimension and consideration, compete with nature for importance in the collective imagination. The Dolomites are symbolic forms in movement whose history began two hundred and fifty million years ago. Their component material came from oceanic abysses and recalls the latter’s design, almost an upside-down history of the earth.”
The Dolomites Project is Barbieri’s latest series to examine monumental landscapes from above. As in the Waterfalls Project (2008), and the expansive, on-going site specific_ series (2003-2012), the artist is photographing while hovering overhead in a helicopter. In each of these previous projects Barbieri utilized a tilt-shift lens to deftly render spaces of enormous scale to appear as toy-model versions of themselves. The Dolomites Project, however, utilizes another facet of the artist’s skillful exploitation of photographic folds of perception, bestowing on the images a push/pull play of depth versus flatness through selective coloration of the textured facades of the jagged peaks.
Born in 1954, Olivo Barbieri lives and works in Modena, Italy. In addition to his photographic work, he has also directed critically acclaimed films, such as site specific_ROMA 04, site specific_SHANGHAI 04, and site specific_LAS VEGAS 05, which he has exhibited at the MOMA, New York, the Tate Modern, London, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among other venues. His films have been featured in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival and the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. He has also exhibited his photographs internationally at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, and the International Center of Photography, New York. He has participated in the Venice Biennial (1993, 1995, 1997, 2011), the Prague Biennial (2009) and the Seville Biennial (2006).