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Gallery Exhibition

29 November 2022 – 25 March 2023
Via San Vittore 13, Milano

© Gian Paolo Barbieri – Eva Herzigova, Roma, 1997



From the 29th of November 2022 to the 25th of March 2023, 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS in Milan presents the exhibition ‘GIAN PAOLO BARBIERI: UNCONVENTIONAL’, a selection of unseen colour photographs by the Artist who was the winner of the 2018 Lucie Award for Best International Photographer (Outstanding Achievement in Fashion).

The exhibition presents a highly innovative selection of images to the public, both in terms of their setting and styling, the fruit of the unmistakable genius of the Artist. It is a style of photography that is at once ironic and sophisticated, both rare and provocative, rich with references to art history, eclectic outdoor sets in exotic locations, and allusions to cinema that eco Barbieri’s experiences as a young man studying at Cinecittà in Rome.

The exhibition showcases intimate, spontaneous shots of models and celebrities such as Eva Herzigova, Isa Stoppi and Donatella Versace counterbalanced with iconic photographs which Barbieri – one of the most brilliant interpreters of Made in Italy – created for some of the most famous ad campaigns for Italian and international fashion brands such as Versace, Ferrè, Vivienne Westwood, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino e Armani.

Internationally recognised for his trademark black and white shots, his subjects appear almost unattainable in their sharp sophistication. Using colour, Barbieri recounts his own personal and ironic interpretation of fashion and feminine beauty: the women in the photographs on display free themselves from the more canonical poses of fashion photography instead becoming for the occasion spokeswomen of a new kind of unconventional elegance which reveals a more nonchalant, sensual side.

The works shown, a mix of unseen portraits and hand-painted photographs, tell the story of the Artist’s irreverence and creativity, a photographer for whom the arts have always represented an inescapable means of validation and support to fashion, well beyond their use value. His studies and research have been so far-reaching that, in a career lasting over 60 years and comprising more than a million shots, it would be difficult to find even a single example without allusions to, points of reference, or inspiration from the visual arts, the cinema and the great masters of art and photography.

«I have always loved art, in all its incarnations. Since I was a child the inspiration of theatre and cinema played an important role. Reading widely, studying classical art, looking to the great masters of the past or simply looking around me at what animated my surroundings, I cultivated my artistic eye. I imagined or drew in my head that which I would have liked to be the result of this act, constructing my sets meticulously, always citing, more or less explicitly, art, cinema or architecture.» (Gian Paolo Barbieri)

The works in the exhibition will surprise a public who already knows and loves Barbieri, showing a lesser-known but irresistibly fascinating dimension of one of the greatest masters of photography, whose trademark style remains, even today, among the most copied and admired in the world.


The exhibition will run from the 29th of November 2022 to the 25th of March 2023.

The exhibition opens just a few days from the release in cinemas of the first docufilm made about the life and work of Gian Paolo Barbieri, ‘The Man and The Beauty’, already winner of the audience award at Biografilm Festival 2022 in Bologna.