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Giorgio Casali: Photographer / Domus 1951-1983 at The Estorick Collection

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Start Date:22nd May 2013
End Date:8th September 2013
Giorgio Casali:  Photographer / Domus 1951-1983 at The Estorick Collection

For over thirty years, Giorgio Casali (1913-1995) photographed the work of the greatest post-war Italian architects and designers. Although not a household name, Casaliís reputation as one of the most influential 20th century Italian photographers is assured through the striking imagery he produced for the monthly magazine Domus Ė Italyís famous style bible. This important exhibition, from 22 May to 8 September 2013, presents a selection of works from the vast collection of Casaliís images in the Archivio Progetti, housed at IUAV University in Venice. With their incredible subtlety and sophistication, these masterful images reveal why Casaliís vision came to be so valued by such important figures as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass Jr.

Born in Lodi (Lombardy), Casali moved to Milan in 1928 where he worked as an apprentice in the Rambaldi photographic studio prior to establishing his own studio in partnership with Giovanni Muzzarelli. His career was to take a giant step forward in the early 1950s as a result of the images he took of Gio Pontiís iconic Superleggera chair for Domus. Casaliís compositions effectively conveyed the designís key feature Ė extreme lightness Ė through the use of models holding the object with a single finger. These images bore the hallmarks that were consistently to mark his work over the following three decades, being defined by their economy, wit, great elegance and commitment to presenting the object or building in question to its best advantage.

Domus was founded by Gio Ponti in 1928, and quickly became an incredibly influential magazine, going on to play a key role in the international dissemination of the Made in Italy Ďbrandí, which asserted a quintessentially Italian sense of style through the creative reinvention and reinterpretation of everyday objects. Casali forged a collaborative relationship with Ponti that proved to be incredibly fruitful and which lasted until the early 1980s, his work charting post-war Italyís growing self-confidence and position as a world leader in the spheres of architecture and design.

The images on display span forty years of creativity in both architecture and design, and are presented in four sections, three of which will examine different aspects of Casaliís work for Domus. The first is devoted to a selection of the thirty stylish cover images he created for the magazine, while the second and third explore his photographic treatment of key design objects and buildings. These range from Pontiís elegant Torre Pirelli (Milan, 1956) and extraordinary Cathedral for the southern Italian city of Taranto (1971) to Roberto Monsaniís Villa Brody (Greve in Chianti, 1973) with its jutting, angular forms. Photographs of two celebrated lamps designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni Ė Arco (1962) and Ipotenusa (1975) Ė also feature, as do images of Gianni Pareschi and Umberto Orsiniís Poltrona Libro armchair of 1970, which resembles an open book.

Due to their iconic status, many of these design classics remain in production and examples of these will also be on display in the exhibition spaces, including Pontiís Superleggera chair and a mushroom-shaped, blown-glass lamp by Angelo Mangiarotti, dating from 1966.

Giorgio Casali: Photographer / Domus 1951-1983 is organised in collaboration with IUAV University, Domus and the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, where it made its debut earlier this year. The exhibition will not only enable visitors to discover the achievements of once-celebrated but now less well-known masters, but also to rediscover those of more familiar figures such as Ponti, Pier Luigi Nervi and Le Corbusier through the lens of this great photographer. Curated by Angelo Maggi and Italo Zannier, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue containing scholarly essays on Casaliís life and work.

Venue Map

Address:39a Canonbury Square
London
N1 2AN
United Kingdom
Venue Website:www.estorickcollection.com

Images from Giorgio Casali: Photographer / Domus 1951-1983 at The Estorick Collection

Image 1

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