Gabriele basilico


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GABRIELE BASILICO was born in 1944 in Milan.

In 1973, after qualifying in architecture at Milan Polytechnic, he began to take photographs, concentrating on the city and the urban landscape.

He worked on a lot of different commissions through out Europe.

He became one of the most important urbane landscape photographers.


In 1991, one year after the end of a war that lasted fifteen years, he took part in a photographic mission on Beirut. “Before the war Beirut was never just a city, it was an idea of coexistence and the spirit of tolerance: diverse religious communities (Shiites, Sunnis, Christians and Druses) could live together without having to abandon their individual identities.” (Thomas Friedman)

“The result of Basilico’s photographs, while maintaining an objective and analytical edge, has an ambivalent and disconcerting feeling. It is a document of a horrendous past and at the same time a blue print for an unpredictable future. They are much more a question than a statement, they are not a judgment on war but a reflection on what a city is left with once war eventually ends and life resumes its course. The idea of the city remains intact even if its political and social structures have been attacked. Looking at the photo’s of Beirut, where buildings stand with no less dignity than the Colosseum in Rome’s traffic jam, we have to consider how these images will be handled and how  they will affect the future history of the city both in terms of architectural development and as a reference point of a time that runs the risk of being forgotten.” (Francesco Bonami)


The work of Gabriele Basilico has been shown at institutions as the Stedelijk Museum – Amsterdam, the Venice Biennale, the Musée Européen de la Photographie – Paris, and Ivam –Valencia. His work is represented in collections in most of the major public and private institutions.



Gabriele Basilico biography



Born 12 August in Milan, Italy.



Graduate from the Faculty of Architecture at the Polytechnic of Milan.



Begins detailed research into the urban industrial area of Milan, culminating in 1983 with the exhibition Milano, ritratti di fabbriche at Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan.



Works on Milanese architecture, Immagini del Novecento, Milano, architetture 1919-1939.



First public collective project on the city of Naples, Napoli, cittàdi mare con porto.



Partecipates in the collective exhibition Viaggio in Italia, based on a project by Luigi Ghirri

on the contemporary Italian landscape.  

Is invited to work on a project of the Mission Photographique de la DATAR, an enormous undertaking to record the contemporary French landscape promoted by the French government. During the course of this work, his interest gradually shifts from architectural sujects to complex landscapes.



Many solo and group projects on different European cities (Milan, Trieste, Rotterdam, Geneva, Lake Trasimeno, Hambourg, Barcelona, Antwerp).



Italia-France, solo exhibition at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles.


Starts a collaboration with the Province of Milan under the auspices of the Progetto Beni Architettonici e Ambientali, as a result of which receives a series of commissions.

One-man exhibition in New York, Philippe Daverio Gallery.



Works in Milan, Barcelona, Vigo.



Under the auspices of the Mois de la Photo in Paris, receives  the Grand Prix Mois de la

Photo for his exhibition and book Porti di mare.



Partecipates with a group of international photographers in the Mission

Photographique on the city of Beirut at the end of the war.



Projects on the cities of Barcelona, Frankfurt.

Porti di mare, one-man exhibition at Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne.



Collective works: port of Bilbao and city of Madrid.           

In treno verso l’Europa: a work on the landscape around Italian railway.

Solo exhibition at the Printemps de la Photo, Cahors.


Nizza in controcampo: commission and solo exhibition at Musée Matisse, Nice

L’esperienza dei luoghi, important retrospective exhibition at the Galleria Fondazione Gottardo, Lugano (then touring).



Works on the customs building in Oporto and collective commission from the City of Lerida.

New research work on Milan which in 1997 will become a book, Interrupted City.



Collective work on Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille.

Two commissions for the Venice Biennale/6th International Exhibition of Architecture: for the Swiss Pavillon on the works by Luigi Snozzi; for the Italian Pavillon, Italy, cross-sections of a country in cooperation with Stefano Boeri.

Receives the “Osella d’oro” prize at the Venice Biennale for the best photography in the field of contemporary architecture.

Group work and exhibition at invitation of the Kunsthaus, Zurich.

One-man exhibition at Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisboa.



Public commissions on landscape and cities: Venice-Marghera (industrial area), Riva del Garda, Alberobello, Genoa, second commission on Nice (belle époque architecture), Saint Gotthard mountain, Arras, Lombardy Region, Bolzano.

Solo exhibition at the Kwangju Biennale in Korea, and award for the ‘Space’ section.

Solo exhibitions at Berggruen & Zevi Gallery, London and at Storefront Gallery, New York.



Palermo città and Attraversare Bergamo: two books and exhibitions on the urban trasformations.

Two group works and exhibitions in Valencia: Palacio de Congresos and the University.



Publishes Gabriele Basilico Cityscapes, a selection of over 300 photographs from 1984 to 1999.



Cityscapes, solo exhibition in Amsterdam at Staedelijk Museum.

Spends three months in Berlin documenting the town on behalf of Siebenhaar Art Project for DAAD.

Works on a long term project on the city of Valencia.

Mutations: group exhibition in Bordeaux, Arc en Rêve/Centre d’Art Contemporain.

Bolzano Ovest-Bozen West, book and exhibition for the Provincia Autonoma Bolzano-Alto Adige



Solo exhibition in Oporto, Centro Portugués de Fotografia.

Instant City, group exhibition, at Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato.

Berlin, solo exhibition at Studio Guenzani, Milano.

Starts an extensive project on the disused areas in Emilia-Romagna region.

Berlin-Milan-Valencia, one-man exhibition at IVAM, Valencia.

Solo exhibition at MART, Museo d’Arte Moderna of Trento and Rovereto.



Gabriele Basilico is issued in the Phaidon Press 55 series

Publishes Gabriele Basilico Berlin

Retrospective exhibition at Galleria D’Arte Moderna, Turin



Publishes Bord de mer, extended version of the book drawn from the D.A.T.A.R. assignment

Publishes Gabriele Basilico, Beirut 1991 (2003), a selection of over 130 photographs from the war ruins to the rebuilding



Carries out a photographic report on the recent architectures of Portugal from which Gabriele Basilico composes the exhibition Disegnare la città presented at V Biennal in Sao Paulo and at Triennale di Milano.

LR 19/98 and Bord de mer, solo exhibition at MIT Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Works in Santiago de Compostela documenting the town for a research project commissioned by Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea.




Milano, September 2004