Gruppo BuildingGruppo Building


19 May 2023
  • Share This Article

From 29 May to 14 July 2023 – Phos Centro Fotografia Torino             

Phos inaugurates Piero Ottaviano’s exhibition on architecture photography, a reportage of Cuba made with the support of the Gruppo Building that continues to support and promote contemporary art.

Turin, 22 May 2023. The promenade of Havana, in the stretch of the Malecón, is the iconic place for Cubans and tourists from all over the world who, every day, ride it aboard historic cars that have become Cuba’s national heritage. Phos Centro Fotografia Torino, with the collaboration of Gruppo Building, presents from 29 May to 14 July “Barrio San Leopoldo“, a solo exhibition by Piero Ottaviano that highlights the charm of the characteristic Cuban architecture.

A collection of 25 panoramic photographs, part of a wider series of shots, which portrays with an unprecedented look one of the iconic districts of the Caribbean capital, including the stretch of promenade that runs along the north coast of the city, in the heart of the Barrio San Leopoldo, between Paseo del Prado and Belascoain, highlighting architecture in eclectic style, reflecting the cultural vibrancy of the Cuban tradition. From neoclassical to colonial, from Art Deco to Moorish and Baroque, the architecture of Havana today boasts a contrast of very different architectural styles, with buildings strongly corroded by salt action and poor maintenance that flaunt a majestic dignity.

The shots, made with the particular format of 70 mm film, represent the point of view of Piero Ottaviano and the result of his wider work project related to urban landscape photography and architecture, which also bears witness to an economic and social history. The photographs do not correspond to tourist clichés, but they want to talk about an anthropic condition and the context in which it takes place, to tell the life of those who live in that neighborhood through buildings “animated” and expressive as the faces of people can be.

Barrio San Leopoldo” is a unique collection, made with two analog panoramic rooms equipped with decentralized optics for architecture photography, built by the famous master Giorgio Jano and donated to Piero Ottaviano. The film used is medium-format for aerial photography, in black and white, allows better penetration of the atmospheric veil and greater engraving, and the specific construction of the machines uses the photographic lens to its limit, while allowing the creation of a particular shape. In addition, the absence of the viewfinder gives a particular character to the relationship photographer-camera-subject, making it impossible to establish in a methodically programmed way the framing, and thus obtaining a result difficult to repeat.

“In the field of art, photography is one of the most contemporary expressions, able to tell the reality with immediacy. Architecture has always been a witness to historical changes, with its ability to cross eras and, in many cases, to give a look at the social evolution of our times. Ottaviano’s journey in the heart of Havana accurately captures the soul of the island and tells details of the evolution of the buildings and the transformation of a popular district. For this reason – says Luca Boffa, CEO of the Gruppo Buildingwe could only be present in support of photography in Turin, in order to tell how much architecture is an expression of culture and an identity.”

Piero Ottaviano on the exhibition tells: “Architecture conditions the life of its inhabitants, and vice versa. When we walk in a place, through architecture, it is possible to absorb its history, especially that of the people who live there. The “Barrio San Leopoldo” tells of a relatively small district of the city, as in a reportage where, instead of portraits of people, there are houses, also animated and expressive as the faces of people. In my interpretation of space I perceive the subject when inserted in a precise context, in relation to the rest. Panoramic photography allows me to get a global perspective, also thanks to the precious machines built by Giorgio Jano, which can also convey my vision.”