Gabriele Basilico’s Beirut


Gabriele Basilico, Beirut, 1991 (5.2002)

In 1991 Gabriele Basilico was asked by the Lebanese writer Dominique Eddé to participate in a photo campaign that eventually would have created a publication and traveling exhibition called Beirut Centre Ville. Along with Basilico, the project was also proposed to other major international photographers including Robert Frank, Rene Burri, and Josef Koudelka. The purpose was to witness the effects of the fifteen‐year civil war that has torn apart the most cultured, vibrant, and cosmopolitan capital in the Middle East. Basilico, who graduated in architecture in the mid-1970s, remembers this work as “the most delicate and important” of his life. He recalls Beirut as a scenario of ruins and thinks of photography as the only medium able to record the devastation of a city that would disappear very quickly. He shot more than 500 films both in color and black and white. As in most of his works, his Beirut series was influenced by his architectural background and sometimes recalls Bernd and Hilla Becher’s ruins of modernity.

Alessandro Teoldi, ICP-Bard 2013

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2 Responses to Gabriele Basilico’s Beirut

  1. Yes, I agree… I think this project is exactly as he described it and I dind’t know he had spoken about it in this way. Basilico, even if he was as much as possible helpful in answering questions from the public, wasn’t really an intellectual person in a deep and conceptual way. He wasn’t often ready to speculate on his work in that way. He was more a sensory person who used all his physical qualities to express his vision to us. In a way I was particularly touched from this project too, were his feelings and his architectural vision were perfectly balanced.

  2. Definitely there is a connection with the objective vision you can find in the early work of Thomas Struth. As you mention the images recall the Bechers so it all makes sense in a way.
    In particular this image you posted reminds me of the famous New York picture by Thomas Truth..

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