Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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The City Gallery of Bratislava  celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.



Author: Gabriele Basilico
Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
29. 10. 2014 - 18. 1. 2015

Notes from a "space measurer"


At a round table on the theme of "Space and architecture", organized by Kosme de Barañano and held at the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum in 2001, Gabriele Basilico gave a clear definition of his relationship with constructed space, that is the urban landscape which was for years the focus of his work. He wrote: « "Infinity is the point where two rail tracks meet in the distance ..."  "From birth to death how much space can our gaze encompass?" In these quotations taken from his well-known volume Espèces d'Espaces (1974), Georges Perrec introduces the theme of the definition of space in a perceptive, essential way. Space is a physical, geometrical, measurable entity, but equally an abstraction because the rules which define its representation are an unstable amalgam of images transferred from elsewhere, places near and far in both time and space. Space is geography, history and imagination. In its photographic representation, space is document, testimony or interpretation, transfiguration. What attracts me is the way these two aspects can be overlaid and superimposed, an invisible double meaning, an apparently descriptive image which contains references and allusions which are not immediately evident. I like it when space is infinitely replicated and its image renders the idea of complexity. For me the ideal place in which to experience these relationships is the city. For over twenty years photography has been an intermediary in my relationship with cities and urban spaces. Nevertheless, the centre of my interest has always been architecture, or rather the city as the place where works of architecture, from the most beautiful to the humblest, exist and shape the human environment. I also have to admit that, while fascinated by landmark architecture, the works of the maestros of architecture both old and new, at the same time I continue to be irresistibly attracted by the "ordinary" city, the suburbs where creative concentration and quality of design are increasingly diluted until they are almost lost».

In other writings Gabriele Basilico tackles the theme of his relationship with his native city, Milan: in 1999 in a "letter" published in The Interrupted City/La ciudad interrumpida (Actar, Barcelona) he declares a passion which is aware, distressed and problematic and yet immutable over time: "Over the years it has become for me like a seaport, a private place from which to depart for other seas, other cities, then return, and once again depart. A seaport, that is to say a still, stable place in which to accumulate records and impressions of distant places".  It was in fact in Milan that he started his examination of the urban landscape, of the transformations of the contemporary landscape, and of cities, first in Italy, then in the rest of Europe and finally in the wider world. Ever faithful to the rigour of the "documentary style", that way of observing reality with empathetic distance practised and theorized already in the Thirties by Walker Evans, Basilico was fascinated by architectural stratifications, by the suburbs and border areas of cities, by the wealth of every possible expression of the urban landscape. With lucid coherence in his book Nelle altre città (Art&, Udine 1997) he anticipated what was to become a constant of his professional objectives: "The emotional inclination which guided my travels and my curiosity, as I am now well aware, constantly led me to eliminate geographical barriers: this does not mean that all cities must of necessity be similar, but it does mean that in all cities there are more or less visible presences which are evident to those who seek to see them, familiar presences which enable you to cope with the bewilderment you feel when faced with something new and unknown, and to rediscover the immutable links of friendship with places.  Thus I can recognize fragments of Milan, of my relationship with Milan, in other parts of Europe, and vice versa, when I return from another city, by analogy or contrast, I discover in Milan new and previously unknown signs. It is as though I had taken samples of one culture in order to implant them in another, to enjoy the spectacle of a possible integration. In this subtle, private dialogue with the architectures and spatial forms of different Countries, the idea of a global place as a sum of different places takes strength". This "global place" has today become the sum of his images of cities, captured in a long life of incessant travel and photography, which in the course of time led him to be not only a "space measurer", as he liked to define himself, but also a passionate poet of contemporary urban landscapes, capable of mentally blending the cultures, wealth and poverty of individual architectures to construct a magnificent "global" city, the one which only he was capable of seeing.


Giovanna Calvenzi




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Gabriele Basilico

Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
21. 4. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Albín Brunovský
Curator: Ivan Jančár
12. 3. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020

Františkánke nám. 11, 815 35 Bratislava

Open daily except Mondays
11am - 6 pm

Panská 19, Bratislava

Open daily except Mondays
11am - 6 pm

Pohľad z hradu Starhemberg
Author: Moritz Saint Genois
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