The CCA revisits architect Carlo Scarpa’s masterpiece as part of an exhibition on photographer Guido Guidi

The Canadian Centre for Architecture has chosen to revisit an architectural masterpiece with an exhibition entitled Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion: Photographs by Guido Guidi, 1997-2007, dedicated to the Italian photographer Guido Guidi. The exhibition takes place from September 11, 2009 to January 10, 2010 in the CCA’s Octagonal Gallery.


Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion captures notions of time, space, and light in the Brion family mausoleum in Italy, considered to be Carlo Scarpa’s masterpiece. A long-time admirer of Scarpa’s work and thought, Guidi’s interest in the Brion family tomb is reflected in this decade-spanning visual essay.


The artist’s 54 colour photographs reveal the beauty of the funerary complex, its clean architectural lines, and the poetic nature of Scarpa’s work. With passion, meticulousness, and a focus on minute details, Guidi imbues every frame with the richness of colour, ornamentation, and purity of his subject. The artist invites contemplation of a piece of architecture whose majesty reveals itself differently depending on the time of day, the season, and the observer’s viewpoint.


By concentrating on particular architectural features of this major work, the artist invites the viewer to look beyond the whole. “In essence, I considered Scarpa’s architecture not only as a manufactured object, but also as a machine through which to look at time. Or rather, architecture in its “becoming,” as shadows on a wall that recall volumetric projections drawn in countless mutations on a sheet of paper,” explains Guidi.


This conceptual approach is illustrated by a wall text, written by the photographer and subtly enhanced by the graphic design company FEED, located at the entrance to the Octagonal Gallery. The art of Guido Guidi and the prolific work of Carlo Scarpa have been the subject of numerous publications, many of which will be made available for consultation in the area adjacent to the exhibition space.


Born in Cesena, Italy, in 1941, the photographer Guido Guidi began his career in the late 1960s. After studies at the Venice University Institute of Architecture (Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia; now Università IUAV di Venezia), he returned to IUAV in 1970 as a photographer.


Over the course of his practice, Guidi has developed a cohesive body of work in which he examines the contemporary landscape and its transformations. His investigations into marginal places break with the tradition of depicting classical Italy and its monuments. He has worked on several photographic commissions focused on landscape and his work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions, including Viaggio in Italia (1984); L’Insistenza dello sguardo, l’Invention d’un art (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1989); Muri di Carta (1993); The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943–1968 (Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1994); L’io e il suo doppio (Venice Biennale, 1995); In Between Cities (2003); Metamorph Trajectories (Venice Biennale, 2004); Trans Emilia (Fotomuseum Winterthur, 2005); and, most recently, Dieci fotografi d’oro (2009).


Guidi contributed to the exhibition Venezia Marghera: Photography and Transformations in the Contemporary City, organized in 1997 in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He has received significant photographic commissions from the CCA, among them Mies in America (2001) and Carlo Scarpa, Architect (1999). In 1995, he was awarded the Italian Photographic Book of the Year Prize for Varianti (Udine: Arti Grafiche Friulane), a monograph on his mid-career work that garnered critical praise for the excellence of its text and images. He has taught and given workshops on photography at various Italian universities and institutions since 1986.


The exhibition is curated by Louise Désy, CCA Curator of Photography, who presents a gallery talk on Thursday, October 15 at 7:00pm. The presentation will be in French.