Dear Shaded Viewers,
On the occasion of Milano Moda Donna, the Gian Paolo Barbieri Foundation in collaboration with CZ Fotografia di Catia Zucchetti and MANITOWN di Federico Poletti, reopens its doors with an exhibition entirely dedicated to the erotic production of Gian Paolo Barbieri.
The photographic journey, entitled Uncensored, gives voice to the explosive force of eroticism, to the curiosity placed in human features, to the desire of observing it through the eyes of others.
Photography occupies a privileged place among the ways in which eroticism spreads: painted, sculpted and printed images carry with them an intense charge of elegant provocation. As a matter of fact, the origin of the world, of another world next to the real one, is photography itself. And no theme, more than eroticism, has nurtured this parallel reality in terms of depth and freedom. Eroticism is an intellectual way of dealing with sexuality, it is a metaphor of it: it has the limited task of evoking, referring to something else and allowing the human imagination to cross its limits.
Federico Poletti, editor in chief of MANINTOWN magazine, says: “Gian Paolo Barbieri’s work represents a veritable mine of inspirations that range over different themes and that have often anticipated trends and lifestyle phenomena. With Uncensored we wanted to show all the expressive and erotic power of the nudes taken by Barbieri, poetic and very strong images now on show in the Foundation, a special place where the work of a great master of Italian photography can be enjoyed and discovered in a new way. And it is precisely Barbieri’s work that I am sure can offer further creative ideas for rethinking the very imagery of men’s fashion in continuous evolution”.
Even though since ancient Greece the nude has been the favourite subject of all artists, during the history of Western art, particularly with the advent of Christianity, attempts have often been made to avoid sexuality, concealing it and making the poetic representation of the nude forbidden, unlike in the East where there has always been a healthy desire to represent the naked body and sex. Thanks to the Renaissance, artists were once again able to express the nude body in all its beauty, particularly the male body, echoing the ideal beauty born in ancient Greece. Subsequently, the advent of photography in the West paved the way for the representation of the nude, in a real way, even if the crudeness of the subject was always translated by photographers according to canons of elegance.
Uncensored scrutinises what for Barbieri has been a constant quest: The Man. Always attracted to the study of the human body, exterior and interior, Barbieri has investigated, probed and observed the soul, first in his trilogy on the tropics, then in his study of eroticism. Barbieri knows how to convey pleasure, describing it in all its expressions. The bodies grow natural, immediate and real through purity and simplicity of expression. In his images, the prehistoric approach to the human body, the aesthetic intention of classical beauty and the Renaissance rediscovery of freedom coexist. Barbieri’s nudes are therefore a celebration of nature, in all its forms and expressions, without false modesty, without fear of banality, playing with the happiness and innocence of a child, poised on that thin red thread that has never divided pure art from contaminated art, poetry from vulgarity, the sacred from the profane.
To quote photography historian Maurizio Rebuzzini: Despite their photographically elaborate appearance, these images are classically simple. The neutral background is allegorical in its subtext, but secondary to the human figures that dominate the scene. The figures themselves are perceived so intimately as to instil a sense of embarrassment. At the same time, it is difficult to reduce Gian Paolo Barbieri’s style, grace and taste to pure description or to any kind of expressive affiliation. The subjects are visualised with cuts and blades of light in suspended and silent moments… All these photographs are blatant, declarative and without subtext. Gian Paolo Barbieri’s point of view is focused and emphasised: dark memories – obscure or perhaps dark memories – lodge in our hearts. We are in the presence of a photograph that digs, that has already dug into emotions, the darkest and most disconcerting ones. Gian Paolo Barbieri fascinates, disconcerts and touches the heart and mind of the viewer. And this is also the function of photography and, more widely, of art. He uses light with mastery, alternating vigour with subjective and dramatic fullness, he composes his subjects with taste and delicacy, presenting their depth and intensity. Gian Paolo Barbieri is a photographer who expresses strength, yet is strangely passive. The passion and tragedy he photographs, the intense vibrations he evokes, the madness and impossibility of living that run through his work belong to others: to us, the observers. He sees the torment, he expresses the passion, but we cannot know if he lives them personally.
Fondazione Gian Paolo Barbieri
Via Lattanzio 11 – Milano
Dal 22 al 25 settembre 2021 – Orari 10.00 – 16.00
Free entrance by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. +39 02 55194154
Opening by invitation only
21 settembre 2021 – Orari 18.30 – 21.30