Olivo Barbieri (Carpi – Modena 1954) began exhibiting in 1978.
He is one of the most celebrated Italian artists in the international arena. His research initially focuses on artificial lighting in the European and Eastern city. Since 1989 he has been traveling regularly in the East, especially in China. In 1996, the Museum Folkwang in Essen dedicated a retrospective to him. Since the mid-nineties he has adopted a photographic technique that allows him to keep only certain points of the image in focus: a philosophical device to relate the subject in an unprecedented way with what surrounds him. In 2003 he began the site-specific project (photographs and films) involving more than 40 cities in the world.
He has exhibited in the most important international museums, institutions and festivals including MoMA San Francisco, CCA Montreal, Sundance Film Festival, Center Pompidou, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, Jeu de Paume, etc In 1993, 1995, 1997, 2011 and 2013 he took part in the Venice Biennale, in 2003 he took part in Stranger, the first Triennale of photography and video at the ICP in New York and in 2006 at the II Biennale of Seville curated by Okwui Enwezor. In 2008 he exhibited TWIY at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples and in 2011 Dolomites Project 10 at the MaRT Museum in Rovereto.
The series site specific_ (2003–2013), Parks (2006–2015), Real Words (2008–2013), Images (1978–2007), Virtual Truths (1996–2002) and Artificial Illuminations (1980–2014) have in common the reflection on the quantity of reality present in our system of life, and on how much our perception is able to understand it. In 2013 Aperture , New York publishes site specific_03 13. In 2015, for the European Photography Festival of Reggio Emilia, he produced ERSATZ LIGHTS, a book published by Hatje Cantz and an exhibition. In 2015 the MAXXI Museum in Rome presents its third retrospective, Images 1978-2014. Two films from the site specificseries are part of the MoMA New York collection. Fifty monographs and catalogs have been published on his work.