Since 2003, Italian artist Olivo Barbieri has been photographing sites around the world from a helicopter. Hovering between 90 and 150 metres above ground, Barbieri uses an optical bench and, by focusing and defocusing, produces new perspectives on familiar places, giving buildings an enigmatic character that wavers between reality and model.

Thirty seven years after the creation of the Expo 67 site, the artist captured a breathtaking view of the former United States pavilion. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, in the form of an enormous sphere, appears to float over the landscape, reviving memories of the iconic structure and stimulating the imagination.

The image is part of site specific _ Montreal 04, a project comprising a set of 16 large-format photographs commissioned from the artist for the exhibition The 60s: Montréal Thinks Big (2004). The innovative architecture of the buildings, public institutions, and transportation infrastructure captured by Barbieri testifies to the unparalleled growth and energy experienced by Montréal during that decade.

Olivo Barbieri’s “site specific” series is a work in progress, looking at parts of the planet from Jordan and China to America and Europe, making us see the world, as the artist puts it, “as a temporary installation.”


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