Over the last few years, the architecture photographer Giovanni Presutti has photographed many of the most important buildings in major European cities, placing a special focus on constructions built in the last decade. The methodical research and surveys he carries out before each trip have led him to the conclusion that the majority of these buildings have two key aspects in common. The first is their very prominence; their devotion to aesthetics. It is clear that the works are produced by contemporary society, with even those featuring complicated internal structures increasingly characterized by attention to exteriority. It is important to note, however, that these buildings do not lack functionality. The second is the uniformity of style and planning. Presutti encountered similar ideas and materials in every country he visited, which were often completely unconnected to local traditions. This frequently made it difficult to place a certain building in a given country. It is as though the European Union, having not yet achieved political or social unity, has somehow succeeded at an architectural level. Giovanni Presutti explores these issues in Contemporanea, emphasizing the aesthetic qualities his subjects have in common: the lines, materials, and reflections, as seen from different perspectives. In the process, he has sought out pureness of form, and created a unique context; one that is representative of our time. A foreword by Antonio Belvedere, and an introduction by the Parisian-born curator, critic, and photography historian Gabriel Bauret, provide a critical perspective on this collection of images.
> Giovanni Presutti was born in Florence, Italy, in 1965, where he still lives. In 1998 he graduated from the photography school Art.E in Florence. From 2003 to 2005 he developed the project “Reflexions” in Paris, with other photographers under the supervision of Giorgia Fiorio and Gabriel Bauret. Then he had an intense exhibition activity in Italy and abroad in public and private museums and galleries, in several cities such as New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Milan, Rome, Turin, Venice, Florence, Naples, Pietrasanta, and Genoa (last of them in Biennale di Venezia 2011 and Rencontres Des Arles 2012). He got several prizes. First prize in A Better World in 2008 (third in 2010), first prize in Portfolio Ariosto 2007, honorable mention in IPA International Photographer Awards PRO in 2010 and 2011, honorable mention in PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris professional in 2011, finalist in Arte laguna Prize in 2011 and 2012, winner of Premio Musa in 2011 in the Biennale of the Absurd in Castelvetro Modena, third prize in international contest Rovereto Immagini in 2011, winner of Memorial Mario Giacomelli in 2011, selected for Descubrimientos Photoespana 2012, finalist of Premio Ponchielli 2012, winner of Donkeyart Prize 2012, winner of Fofu phot’art challenge 2012, winner of Malamegi prize 2014. His work has been published in several magazines, including Vanity Fair, Espresso, Sette Magazine. In 2008 he published the book Mirror, in 2013 the ebook Eolo and in 2015 the book Contemporanea. He is a member of Synap(see) collective.
> Renzo Piano was born in Genoa in 1937 and he maintains a home and office in the area. He was educated at the Politecnico di Milano. From 1965 to 1970 he worked with Louis Kahn and with Makowsky. He worked together with Richard Rogers from 1971 to 1978; their most famous joint project is the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1977). He also had a long collaboration with the engineer Peter Rice. In 1981, Piano founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, employing a hundred people with offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York. On March 18, 2008, he became an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and he was recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, AIA Gold Medal, Kyoto Prize, and the Sonning Prize. One admirer said the “serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world.”
> Antonio Belvedere was born in Catanzaro (Italy) in 1969. Before beginning his studies in architecture he worked as a carpenter in his father’s workshop, learning the specialist skills of turning and milling. This education was very valuable later in his career as it gave him an intimate knowledge of materials and construction processes. In 1997 he graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Florence, presenting a thesis on the completion of the “Axe Historique” in Paris. The following year in the same city he joined the Renzo Piano Building Workshop where he gained wide-ranging international experience on an urban scale. Together with Paolo Colonna, he won the RFI international architecture competition for Small Railway Stations. After many years as an Associate, in 2011 he became a partner at RPBW.
> Giuseppe Villirillo started his career in Rome at the Feltrinelli bookshop, moving on to become an editorial director at several different publishing houses. He now works as a freelance consultant on publications of books and catalogs for publishers and photographers in Italy and across the world.