Nuoro, at MAN the great photographer Olivo Barbieri brings the menhirs and dolmens of Sardinia

From March 4 to June 25, 2023, MAN in Nuoro will host ls exhibition "Twelve ee h s nine," a project by Olivo Barbieri, one of Italy's most esteemed photographers, dedicated to the menhirs and dolmens of Sardinia.

From March 4 to June 25, 2023, MAN in Nuoro will host ls exhibition Twelve ee h s nine, a project by photographer Olivo Barbieri (Carpi, 1954) curated by Marco Delogu and Chiara Gatti. The exhibition is produced by the Fondazione di Sardegna, in collaboration with the MAN Museum. With this new work, Barbieri ends his work within the framework of the Sardinia Commission, a project that supports the path of production of contemporary artworks through the AR/S Arte Condivisa platform, with the aim of opening a window on the territory, history and stratifications that characterize the island, through the gazes of curators, artists and artists invited to live experiences of residence and production in Sardinia.

Olivo Barbieri, one of Italy’s leading contemporary artists and photographers, was invited by the Fondazione di Sardegna to turn his gaze to the island, to undertake three journeys over two years, deciphering a space-time bubble between archaeology and contemporary imagery. The object of the research is the heritage composed of numerous megaliths, dolmens and menhirs scattered over the island, according to logics still unclear to scholars, observed in their ability to modify the space that surrounds them. Barbieri, who had already traveled extensively to Brittany and Carnac in the 1980s, attracted by these megalithic monuments, the mystery of their genesis and function, albeit years late and with a certain sense of guilt for having waited so long, arrives in Sardinia to approach an equally unique heritage, little publicized, even for many almost unknown.

Guided by the wise disposition of scholars such as archaeologist Riccardo Cicilloni, by the indications of local inhabitants, by researchers and local memories, Barbieri in Twelveee h s nine - Dolmen and Menhirs in Sardinia returns a reconnaissance, a free and non-scientific sensory mapping of megaliths, but above all he tells how the space around them has changed, how the world has changed through forms, stratifications and unconscious logical steps.

The photographs record authentic situations of coexistence and interpenetration between the archaic past, recent construction, and the plant landscape. The artist has widened his gaze from the single site to the anthropized landscape, to inhabited contexts that have absorbed the volumes and history of these extraordinary objects of resistance, in a new scenario, modified by the context of the finds and their ascendancy, inspiring new images and new architectures.

Olivo Barbieri through this investigation of variation, with a process of observation that is clear and devoid of linguistic trappings, but taking the perceptual possibilities of seeing to the extreme, traces an imaginary geography of Sardinia that is deep, silent, and different from the well-known beauty of the internationally famous coastline. In his travels from Dorgali to Laconi, from Calangianus to Barrali, he explores adventurous paths among cultivated fields, pastures and villages in search of vestiges sometimes swallowed by vegetation or concrete to restore them to the present.

In the dialogue with Chiara Gatti published in the catalog Olivo Barbieri says, “I have worked and reflected a lot on the modification of the space around each find, how epochs have passed overlapping grafts, layers, passages. It is a syncretic temporal narrative.... ”.

As Marco Delogu and Franco Carta write in the text accompanying the exhibition, “the forms of the stone are soaked by time and Barbieri captures its mystery, encloses its color and light in the frame, enhances its aesthetic strength, questions its magical suggestions and symbolic-sacral value that have always evoked in the mind of the observer, whether a scholar or a layman.”

Barbieri’s work is consistent with the original productions of the Fondazione di Sardegna made in recent years, productions whose goal is to tell the story of the island through the vision of art, questioning protagonists of primary stature to return an image of the island in dialogue with the most dynamic national and international creative contexts. From this dialogue spring the signs of an unusual Sardinia that, at times, we struggle to recognize. Accompanying the exhibition is a book with 105 photographs published by Punctum Press with texts by Andrea Cortellessa, Riccardo Cicilloni, Marco Delogu and Franco Carta and a dialogue between Olivo Barbieri and Chiara Gatti.

For information visit the MAN Nuoro website.

Nuoro, at MAN the great photographer Olivo Barbieri brings the menhirs and dolmens of Sardinia
Nuoro, at MAN the great photographer Olivo Barbieri brings the menhirs and dolmens of Sardinia

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