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Views & Reviews Beautiful Simple and maybe Profound Preganziol Artist's Book Guido Guidi Photography

Preganziol, 1983 is a key piece of work in the oeuvre of legendary Italian photographer Guido Guidi. Taken in 1983, the sequence of images depict the same room in an attempt to measure space-time using light. Located in Preganziol, Italy, the small and dilapidated room has two windows from which sunlight enters; in each photograph the angle, intensity and volume of light changes. The work is an exploration of how to define and describe physical space and the idea of camera obscura more widely. This large-format and limited edition book has been signed and numbered by the artist. Includes a written piece by Roberta Valtorta. Published by MACK (London).

In 1983, Italian photographer Guido Guidi created a short photographic series, taken inside a room in Preganziol, a comune in the Province of Treviso about 20 kilometers north west of Venice. ‘Preganziol' consists of sixteen images, taken within the confines of four bare walls. The only light is from two small windows, opposite one another and the series follows the shifting of light across the walls as time progresses through the day.

Guido Guidi is interested in mapping the subtle changes of familiar places. For him photography is something autobiographical; it is synonymous with inhabiting, and the camera is the instrument that allows him to observe, appropriate and collect evidence and traces of lives experienced.

“In the moment that I take a photograph of something I feel that I am that thing; … I am what I photograph in the moment that I am photographing it. At least it is an attempt to be it, even if it is imperfect and imprecise. It is as if I am praying.” (From a conversation with Antonello Frongia and Laura Moro, Ronta di Cesena, 6 May, 2013)

Guido Guidi was born in Cesena, in 1941 and studied architecture in Venice at the beginning of the sixties. Influenced by Neorealist film and Conceptual art, Guidi began exploring Italy’s man-altered landscape in the late sixties. His work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Centre Georges Pompidou, Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, MAXXI Rome and most recently, a retrospective of his work 'Veramente’ has been touring from Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson through various venues in Europe.

With special thanks to Michael Mack, who has published two Monographs on Guidi’s photographs; ‘Preganziol 1983’ (2013) and ‘Vermanente’ (2014). A limited amount of signed copies of ‘Preganziol’ will be available to purchase during the exhibition.

This Week In Photography Books: Guido Guidi
Jonathan Blaustein - May 23, 2014 - Photography Books

by Jonathan Blaustein

My son graduated from Kindergarten this morning. It was quite the big deal. Lots of parents in attendance, lining the gymnasium bleachers like beakers in a chemistry class. Fun stuff.

There was five-song-medley that went on for ages. Or at least it seemed to, as we tried to keep our young daughter from shrieking at any moment. It’s fun for her, the screaming, and she does it with a smile.

Where was I? Losing focus today, as end of school year always finds my fried family worn down like a #2 pencil. Right. The graduation medley.

Each child sang and danced. Hips twisted. Caps and gowns swayed in the fresh mountain air. They opened with “First Grade, First Grade,” (to the tune of “New York, New York,”) segued through the Spanish numbers, and closed with “Happy” by Pharrell F_cking Williams. Had he been in attendance, I would have been “Happy” to beat him to death with that stupid oversized hat he insists on wearing.

All those 6 year olds, in matching outfits, doing identical choreography. At one point, my mother pointed to young Abigail and said, “Look at her go.” She’d found the one girl with that extra little rhythm. The one who could actually dance.

I began to pay more attention to the children in my vicinity. The moves were the same, yet ever-so-not. Differences were easy to see, once I was paying attention. Kind of like that story in the New Yorker the other week, that talked about how the road from Moscow to Lviv is lined with villages. Each can always speak to their neighbor town. But by the time you get to the end of the line, Russian and Ukrainian have diverged to two completely different languages.

Those dancing little New Mexicans came to mind immediately after putting down “Preganziol 1983,” a new oversized hardcover book by Guido Guidi, recently published by MACK. It’s like a Highlights magazine in a 1980’s dentist office. (Which one of these is not like the other…)

Open up and you see a black and white photo of a room with some pencil-written words. Then the same room in color. A well-worn space with an open window looking out across some trees. And a shadow on the wall, with a tree in it. It’s labeled A1.

Turn the page, and the image appears the same. Turn the page again and the image appears the same. Again. Turn the page again and the image appears the same. Again. Turn the page again and you wonder, what the hell is going on here?

Is it the color? Has there been a super-subtle shift in hue? No, that’s not right. Turn the page again, and you definitely notice the shadow has moved. Turn back to what came before, and sure enough, the shadow moves slightly each time.

Keep going, and you actually get to enjoy the minimal changes. At the end, we see a different view of a room, and intuitively know it’s another direction in the same space. The next two photos confirm, the final two directions, rounding out the book and the concept. B, C, & D.

Finally. A16. Room with no shadow.

(Take another look at the cover, and you see a sketch of a four-sided room, with A, B, C & D corresponding to walls in space.)

To be fair, I haven’t photographed the entire book. Seems crude to the artist to give it all away. Honestly, the whole thing might be too repetitive for you to splash the cash. Such a small little idea.

Or is it? Taking the time to notice how time and light are constantly shifting reality, even if we’re too dim or busy to notice.

Bottom Line: Beautiful, simple and maybe profound

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