GIANNI LEONE. Inventory: 1979 – 2015

from the 1970s to 2015, Travelling through Italy. Curated by Rosalba Branà and Antonio Frugis. Presents Arturo Carlo Quintavalle

The series of exhibitions Contemporary Landscape continues at the Pino Pascali Foundation in Polignano a Mare. It started in 2014 with the exhibition “The Sea and the Sky. Pino Pascali and Luigi Ghirri”, which offers a view on urban and mediterranean landscapes through the work of Gianni Leone, a photographer who has contributed together with other excellent colleagues- such as Luigi Ghirri, of whom he was friend and colleague, Olivo Barbieri, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Mario Cresci and Mimmo Jodice – to renewing the iconography of Italian photography, thus revolutionizing stereotypes and common beliefs about the country. On the 20th of February at 7 pm (and until the 3rd of April) the Pino Pascali Museum opens its 2016 program with a retrospective exhibition dedicated to Gianni Leone and curated by Rosalba Branà and Antonio Frugis in a setting that has been put up together with the artist himself. The art historian Arturo Carlo Quintavalle will present the event. Inventory: 1979 2015, is an exhibition that retraces the career and life of the artist through over 100 shots taken from the 1970s to today and which portray the urban landscape that stretches from Bari over the whole Apulian territory. After having donated more than 1000 photographs to the CSAC – Centre for Studies and Archive of the Documents of the University of Parma- the artist will make an important donation to the Pino Pascali Museum.

Leone’s photographic work revolves around an extremely personal interpretation of photography of interior landscape which completes the landscape reportage, a reflection of his private life as well as a critical research of images seen as a means of communication. This stretches across more than thirty years of travels documented on black and white film and, from 1994 onwards, in colour.

Born in Bari in 1939, Leone was a professor of history and politics at the University of his hometown. The artist began his career as a photographer in 1979 during an intensively active cultural period: from 1981 to 1983 he manages the gallery Spazio Immagine where he exhibits his first research study, “Letture” (“Readings”), and until 1983 promotes the “Incontri di Spazio Immagine” (Meetings at Spazio Immagine), intensive cycles of conferences and readings accompanied by national and international monographic exhibitions. Among the many artists he engaged we find Luigi Ghirri, Mario Cresci, Giovanni Chiaramonte – who invited him to the collective exhibition “Luogo e identità della Fotografia contemporanea Europea” (Location and Identity of European Contemporary Photography) (1982) – and Guido Guidi. In 1984 he curates the important Viaggio in Italia (Travelling through Italy) as well as the volume published by Il Quadrante di Alessandria and an exhibition of more than 300 shots in Bari’s Provincial Gallery. He was supported in this endeavour by Luigi Ghirri and Enzo Velati, with texts by Quintavalle and a short story by Gianni Celati.

The project completely overturns the popular view of Italy, thus offering an unprecedented insight into marginal or abandoned locations, provinces, solitary beaches, brothels, deserted corners.

Leone also engaged in collaborations and research studies such as Fasti barocchi (Baroque Splendour) on the baroque in Naples (1984), Giardini d’Europa (European Gardens) (1988), Ritorno al mare (Back to the Sea) (1994), Nuovo Paesaggio italiano (New Italian Landscape) (1998), Mediterranea, Verde e Vintage (Mediterranean, Green and Vintage) (2005, 2008), and more recent works such as Poi (Then) (2010) and Casa Ghirri (Ghirri’s home) (2011), intense reflections on spaces and loss. Leone continues to realise his Vaghi Paesaggi (Vague Landscapes), a view on wandering, beauty, indetermination which is splendid and constantly changing if seen from the outside, and in which we are reflected, with all our imperfections.

During the exhibition, the documentary“Gianni Leone” curated by Nicolai Ciannamea, realised and produced as part of the project arTVision – a live art channel (, will be shown.

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  • Gianni Leone, Terlizzi, 1985