Gian Paolo Minelli is a Swiss photographer who has been based in Buenos Aires for the last ten years. Currently on view at the Centro Cultural Recoleta is a substantial show of his work from Villa Lugano and Barrio Piedra Buena, both located in the southwest corner of the city. The show runs until May 2, 2010.
Minelli photographs with a 4×5 camera and the photos are highly detailed, 40×50″ C-prints with a ton of detail.
Here’s an example of a detail I hadn’t noticed when looking at smaller reproductions. The photo above depicts Lugano I y II, a massive housing project in Villa Lugano. Between the central tower and the more distant towers on the left are these small, silver structures:
Looking at the large print I could see that they were informally built parking structures in the common parking area of the complex.
Accompanying the exhibit is a catalog featuring many more photos of a project specifically focused on the neighborhood of Villa Lugano. The book was funded in part by the city of Lugano in Switzerland, which strikes me as a clever way to sell a project.
Villa Lugano has a little bit of everything urbanistically; mundane middle class areas, massive Soviet-style apartment towers, shantytowns, mega-supermarkets, a golf course and even an abandoned amusement park. It’s a microcosm of the urban composition of the Greater Buenos Aires area, which Minelli presents in a precise and straightforward way.
Minelli’s website is not, at the time of this writing, active yet, but it says “very soon”. Recently The Black Snapper featured an essay of photos from Barrio Piedra Buena, another big “monoblock” complex located in the neighborhood. Also soon to be published in Europe is a monograph, The Skin of the Cities.