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Following the worldwide upheavals of 1968, many artists began to doubt the efficacy of formal and aesthetic gestures unconnected to cultural resistance. Acutely aware of photography’s conventional use as propaganda to reinforce the standing order, Luigi Ghirri produced work that made commercial or mass-produced imagery appear in an ironic or diminished light. In Ghirri’s view, the Italian landscape appeared as a set of stock images, Technicolor hues, and cinematic montages. To make Lucerna, a very early work, he photographed the superimposition of two ready-made images in a plate glass window: the reflection of a car seen behind a photographic reproduction of a man in a tuxedo. Lucerna exemplifies Ghirri’s belief that “the autonomy of the photographic idiom” was “not being mere duplication and not being a simple chronometer of the eye to freeze the physical world.”
MEDIUM: Chromogenic print
ART FORM: Photograph