The Waterfall Project, Niagara Falls, Canada/USA, 2007
Inkjet on archival paper
8.5 x 11.5 inches on 14 x 17 inch paper
Signed Edition of 50
Shooting from a helicopter with a tilt-shift lens camera, Olivo Barbieri produces selectively focused images that make his urban scenes look like accurate, miniature models. By blurring imperfections and distorting the scale of buildings and people, Barbieri redefines the customary ground-level perspective, creating an urban landscape that to the viewer appears artificial.
Barbieri utilizes the same unreal quality in his images from The Waterfall Project. The series looks at four of the world’s largest waterfalls including Victoria (Zambia/ Zimbabwe), Iguazu (Argentina, Brazil), Khone Papeng (Laos/Cambodia) and Niagara (USA/Canada) and examines the duality of the waterfall as a symbol of unspoiled nature and its reality as an artificially controlled spectacle. In discussing the series, Barbieri has stated, "In western and eastern cultures alike, one finds an abundance of historical images of waterfalls as representations of fantastical places of utopian life. In a world of global tourism, where an ‘uncontaminated’ nature confronts international borders, what remains of the mythological nature of these places?"
A participant in the 1993, 1995 and 1997 Venice Biennials, Barbieri's films and photographs have been exhibited internationally at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Tate Modern, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Hayward Gallery, the Fotomuseum Winterthur and the International Center of Photography, New York. In addition, his films have been selected for prestigious film festivals including the Sundance Festival, the San Francisco Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival among many others.