Guido Guidi: Di sguincio

3 Feb—11 Mar 2023
Di sguincio is an exhibition of 22 prints by the Italian photographer Guido Guidi, his sixth solo exhibition at Large Glass. It coincides with the publication by MACK of the homonymous volume, the first of a trilogy entitled Album, which brings to fruition a series of over a hundred black-and-white photographs made by Guidi with small-format cameras between 1969 and 1981.

From the published series, the exhibition showcases selected photographs, mostly taken from 1977 to 1980 in Treviso and Preganziol, in Northern Italy, where Guidi taught at the time. This is a key juncture in Guidi’s work, as he continues his experimentation in black-and-white and increasingly in colour before moving to working predominantly in colour with a large format camera in the early 1980s.

‘Di sguincio’ is an Italian expression, often associated with looking, that can be translated as obliquely, aslant, asquint, and, by extension, diagonally, furtively, indirectly. This phrase poignantly conveys a key tenet of Guido Guidi’s aesthetics: a tangential gaze that seeks to dismantle received views, like the frontal view often associated to photography, and, by extension, to its purported verisimilitude or indexicality. Instead, Guidi’s photography favours an accidental gaze, aimed at uncovering unexpected slants to everyday objects, people or places, for which in the early 1980s he coined the term of ‘qualsiasità’, what-so-everness.

In this series, Guidi experiments playfully with chance or staged encounters with friends, family, objects, and also animals, seemingly without looking, or only through the corner of his eye as the series title suggests. Many of these photographs focus on details of objects, scenes, or parts of people’s bodies, often employing medium close-ups which flaunt a lower framing, taken at chest level, and regularly foreground the subjects’ hands. These hands work as metonyms for photography as they point to things outside the frame, seize translucent objects like glasses, or draw with light, repeatedly staging a performance of the act of photographing.

Marina Spunta

Marina Spunta is Associate Professor of Italian at the School of Arts, University of Leicester.

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