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