Luigi Ghirri, Ile Rousse, 1976, C-print, 9 1/2 x 14 1/8". From the series “Kodachrome,” 1970–78.

IMAGINE ENTERING A DARK ROOM in which the landscape outside appears slowly and upside down. Everything you know becomes strange and intimate, and it takes time to realize that you are immersed in a projection that endows a new sense of being in the world. Flipping the ordinary into the extraordinary, Luigi Ghirri’s astonishing small color photographs share a similar effect, if not an actual orientation. Twenty-one years after the artist’s premature passing at the age of forty-nine, we are still captivated by his enigmatic vision of routine life.

Living in an Italy overrun by clichéd images of its own heritage, Ghirri sought a new mode of representing the country’s landscape through what he called “minimal journeys” within a few miles of his home, focusing on the marginal and minor as sites for discovery of the self. “The subjects of my photographs are those of the everyday,” he

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.