Marazzi unveils Luigi Ghirri’s photographic collaboration

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Marazzi celebrates its collaboration with Luigi Ghirri

‘Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi Years 1975 – 1985’ is now on display at Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo (until October 31, 2021), showcasing the extraordinary creative collaboration between the tile specialist and the Italian photographer

Between 1975 and 1985, Italian surface specialist Marazzi called on artist Luigi Ghirri to create a series of photographs that explore his catalogs of ceramic tiles in a poetic and expressive way. Thirty photographs from this collection are now exhibited at the Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo (until October 31, 2021) in the exhibition “Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi Years 1975 – 1985”, curated by Ilaria Campioli, and part of a book by same title. The exhibition is expected to travel internationally, the next stop being Paris, where the collection will be presented at the Italian Cultural Institute in November 2021, during Paris Photo.

Marazzi and Luigi Ghirri

“Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi years 1975 – 1985” © Eredi Luigi Ghirri. Courtesy of Marazzi Ceramiche

Marazzi is no stranger to creative collaborations. After starting the business in 1935, Filippo Marazzi explored the identity of ceramic surfaces at a time when they were becoming popular, through collaborations with Venerio Martini and Gio Ponti. The founder’s grandson (also Filippo Marazzi) followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in the 1980s with the opening of an R&D department which he called crogiolo (the crucible).

Among the creative collaborations launched by the third generation of Marazzi are works by world-renowned photographers and artists such as Gianni Berengo Gardin, Cuchi White and Charles Traub. Ghirri was among them and became a long-term contributor to the creative growth of Marazzi. Growing up near the Marazzi headquarters, Ghirri had a special understanding of the product and its creation, and in 1975 he began to document Marazzi tiles in a free and poetic way. Over the next ten years until 1985, Ghirri created dozens of photographs, most of which remained locked up in the company’s archives.

Photography: Héctor Chico and Andrea Rossetti

Imaginative photography, reads a text accompanying the exhibition, forms “a research in which ceramics can be read as surfaces and mental space, an infinite possibility of composition, light and color”. Ghirri played with ceramic surfaces to create landscapes, architectural spaces, decorations of aesthetic follies. He has used flowers, objects, shadows, and designs to populate his images, creating an eclectic portfolio that showcases his vision as a photographer as well as Marazzi’s exemplary pieces.

“In his works for Marazzi, Luigi Ghirri placed the ceramic material in a broader reflection on representation,” explains Campioli. “Surfaces become part of that system of measuring and scaling the world so important to the artist at this time. The combination of the different plans and grids allowed him to deepen and reflect on knowledge and learning, as if it was a new page to learn to write and draw every time. ‘§

Photography: Héctor Chico and Andrea Rossetti

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