Ronchini Gallery is pleased to present Massimo Vitali’s first UK solo exhibition in 5 years. Regarded as one of the most influential contemporary photographers working today, Vitali is best known for his distinctive, large-scale coloured photographs of beach and leisure scenes, often captured from a distance to convey the voyeuristic possibilities of photography.
Vitali began his career in photo-journalism, however, after developing a mistrust in documentary photography and its capacity to convey realities, he decided to take a more conceptual approach with his work. Vitali commenced his iconic Beach Series in 1995 after drastic political changes in Italy sparked a curiosity to observe his fellow Italians. By candidly photographing crowds on his native beaches, Vitali revealed “the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism", as art historian Whitney Davis states. Using his camera as a tool for social research, Vitali creates striking images that are reminiscent of the historical practice of figurative and landscape painting.
Later expanding his subjects to pools, ski resorts, discotheques and tourist sites around the world, Vitali’s richly coloured works explore the detached nature of human activities and urban life. The arresting panoramas capture unguarded social interaction from a vantage point, inviting the viewer to place themselves within the extraordinarily detailed images and envision the stories’ of the subjects.
This exhibition showcases later works from across Vitali’s 22 years of practice, spanning from 2011 to 2014. A 2012 work, Lencois Achrome, marks a departure for the artist. Shot in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Maranhão state, north-eastern Brazil, the photograph depicts sweeping sand dunes, with no hint of human life discernible; a stark contrast to the well-populated landscapes the artist is more widely recognised for.
Massimo Vitali (b. 1944, Como, Italy) studied Photography at the London College of Printing in 1964 before going on to direct photography in both advertising and fiction films. In 1993 he started working on large format photography. Vitali lives and works between Lucca, Italy and Berlin, Germany. His work is part of collections in major museums including: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Museo Luigi Pecci, Prato and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver.
His works have been the subject of major exhibitions worldwide including Belgium, China, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey, UK and USA. Solo exhibitions include: Benrubi Gallery, New York (2014); Studio la Città, Italy (2014); Erich Lindenberg Art Foundation, Porza (2014); PhotoMed, Sanary sur Mer, France (2012); Brancolini Grimaldi, London (2011); M+B, Los Angeles (2010); Centro de Arte Santa Monica, Barcelona (2010); The Columns Art Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Seoul (2007); Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (2004); Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (1998) and The Photographer’s Gallery, London (1997). Group shows include: ‘Antropia’ curated by Marco Meneguzzo, Eduardo Secci Contemporary, Pietrasanta, Italy (2015); Summertime Blues, McClain Gallery, Houston (2014); Addio Anni '70. Arte a Milano 1969-1980, Palazzo Reale, Milan (2012); Sense of Place - European Landscape Photography, BOZAR Expo, Center for Fine Arts, Brussels (2012); FOTOGRAFIA ITALIANA: 8 film per 8 fotografi, Auditorium del MAXXI, Rome (2011); Steidl. Quand la photo devient livre, La Monnaie, Paris (2010); Parrworld: The Collection of Martin Parr, Jeu de Paume, Paris (2006) and the UBS Collection, Tate Modern, London (2006). He has exhibited at various fairs including viennacontemporary, Vienna (2015); Art Brussels, Brussels (2015); Miami Project, Miami (2014); Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul (2013); Art Toronto, Toronto (2013); ArtRio, Rio de Janeiro (2013); AIPAD Photography Show, New York (2013) and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2001).