Marazzi unveils the photographic collaboration of Luigi Ghirri

Marazzi celebrates its collaboration with Luigi Ghirri

‘Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi Years 1975 – 1985’ is now on display at the Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo (until October 31, 2021), showcasing the extraordinary creative collaboration between the tile specialist and the Italian photographer

Between 1975 and 1985, Italian surface specialist Marazzi commissioned artist Luigi Ghirri to create a series of photographs that explored his catalogs of ceramic tiles in a poetic and expressive way. Thirty photographs from this collection are now on display at the Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo (until October 31, 2021) in the exhibition “Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi Years 1975 – 1985”, curated by Ilaria Campioli, and are part of a book by same title. The exhibition is scheduled to travel internationally, with the next stop being Paris, where the collection will be presented at the Italian Cultural Institute in November 2021, during Paris Photo.

Marazzi and Luigi Ghirri

‘Luigi Ghirri: The Marazzi years 1975 – 1985’ © Eredi Luigi Ghirri. Courtesy of Marazzi Ceramiche

Marazzi is no stranger to creative collaborations. Having started the company in 1935, Filippo Marazzi explored the identity of ceramic surfaces at a time when they were becoming popular, through collaborations with figures such as Venerio Martini and Gio Ponti. The founder’s grandson (also Filippo Marazzi) followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in the 1980s with the opening of an R&D department which he named crogiolo (the crucible).

Among the creative collaborations launched by the third generation of Marazzi are works by world-renowned photographers and artists such as Gianni Berengo Gardin, Cuchi White and Charles Traub. Ghirri was among them and became a long-term contributor to Marazzi’s creative growth. Growing up near Marazzi’s headquarters, Ghirri had a special understanding of the product and its creation, and in 1975 he began documenting Marazzi tiles in a free and poetic way. Over the next ten years until 1985, Ghirri created dozens of photographs which, for the most part, remained locked away in the company archives.

Photography: Héctor Chico and Andrea Rossetti

The imaginative photography, reads a text accompanying the exhibition, forms “a research in which ceramics are read as surfaces and a mental space, an infinite possibility of composition, light and color”. Ghirri played with ceramic surfaces to create landscapes, architectural spaces, backgrounds of aesthetic follies. He has used flowers, objects, shadows and drawings to populate his images, creating an eclectic portfolio that showcases his vision as a photographer as well as Marazzi’s exemplary pieces.

“In his work for Marazzi, Luigi Ghirri included the ceramic material in a broader reflection on representation,” explains Campioli. “Surfaces are part of this system of measuring and reducing the world to scale, which was so important to the artist at that time. The combination of the different planes and grids allowed him to deepen and reflect on knowledge and learning, as if it were a new page on which to learn to write and draw each time.’§

Photography: Héctor Chico and Andrea Rossetti

Michael E. Marquez