Luca Gilli (1965) lives and works in Cavriago (Reggio Emilia, Italy). After graduating in Natural Science, for several years he conducted research for the University of Parma in the fields of zoology and ecology, before deciding to dedicate his time exclusively to graphic design and, above all, to photography.
His first public appearances date from 2004, when he exhibited his personal photographic projects at the University of Parma’s Museum of Natural History, the Galerie Nadar, the Médiathèque André Malraux in Tourcoing and the Biblioteca Panizzi in Reggio Emilia (Psyche). He was also invited to showcase his photographs at the “École Photographique de Reggio Emilia” event, staged by Gens d’Images at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. The following year (2005), the ECUME association (Échanges Culturels en Méditerranée) in Marseilles asked him to participate in the Atelier de Création Photographique sur la Ville at the Festival Méditerranéen d’Alexandrie. The Atelier works were shown at the Musée Mahmoud Saïd in Alexandria (Egypt). In the same year, the Italian Institute of Culture in Cairo organised a solo exhibition of Gilli’s work.
From 2006 to 2010, he concentrated all of his efforts on researching and developing the technique and poetics of his output, working on a number of new series including Panthalassa (2008–2009) and Islanda (2009). During this period, he exhibited only rarely, and when he did so, the works on show had previously appeared elsewhere.
In 2011, he participated in the Reggio Emilia “European Photography” festival with his Menu del giorno project (2010–2011), and at the Milan Image Art Fair with Panthalassa, working with the Vrais Rêves gallery of Lyon (the gallery at which he had shown the same work the year before). He exhibited at the Galerie Nadar and the Médiathèque André Malraux in Tourcoing, and held two personal exhibitions in Arles during the Rencontres de la Photographie.
2011 and 2012 saw his Blank project take on its definitive form. In November 2011, Planorbis published the volume of the same name, with an essay by Quentin Bajac, the then director of the Photography Department at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The images were shown at the Confluence gallery in Nantes, the Claude Samuel gallery in Paris, the Maison de la Photographie in Lille, the Milan Image Art Fair and the Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais.
In 2013, he staged solo shows at the Lille Art Fair, the 10Due! International Research Contemporary Art Gallery in Milan, the Palazzo Civico at the Town Hall in Montechiarugolo (Parma), the Weber & Weber Arte Moderna e Contemporanea gallery in Turin and the BMFR & Partners studio in Reggio Emilia. In that same year, his work was featured in the Nuage exhibition at the Musée Reattu in Arles.
In 2014, some of his other projects were exhibited at the Confluence gallery in Nantes (the Samsãra cycle), the festival “ReimmaginaRe Fotografia - Percorsi fotografici tra Umbria e Toscana”, the Milan Image Art Fair where he won the prestigious BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas prize, and in Arles as part of the Rencontres de la Photographie. In the same year, his work was showcased in personal exhibitions at the Museum of Photography in Seoul, the Galerie Domus de l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, the École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l’Information et des Bibliothèques in Lyon, ArtVerona — where one of his works was acquired by the Domus Foundation for Modern and Contemporary Art — the VV8 artecontemporanea gallery in Reggio Emilia and the Castello in Montecchio Emilia.
In 2015, Gilli participated in Arte Fiera in Bologna. He staged a solo show at the Weber & Weber Arte Moderna e Contemporanea gallery and a group show at Paola Sosio Contemporary Art; he also took part in SetUp art fair in Bologna, with a personal exhibition held as part of the Special Projects programme. This was followed by a group show at the VV8 artecontemporanea gallery. His work was shown once again at the Reggio Emilia “European Photography” festival, with a solo show dedicated to the Blank project, exhibited at the Chiostri di San Pietro. In the same year, Gilli worked on the Incipit project in partnership with Paola Sosio Contemporary Art; he also exhibited a selection of works from the Blank series during the Milan Salone del Mobile, along with the Menu del giorno project during EXPO 2015. During the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, the Omnius gallery staged the Dikhotonia exhibition, displaying a selection from Blank series together with works by James Reeve. In the autumn, Gilli participated in Art Verona with the VV8 artecontemporanea gallery.
In 2016, he unveiled the Raw State series at the Milan Image Art Fair through Paola Sosio Contemporary Art. In the same Gilli developed a special project for Ice Yachts company and a selection of photographs was exhibited at a solo show at the Milan Image Art Fair.
His works are to be found in private collections and in Italian and European museums of photography and contemporary art, including the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi, the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, the Musée Réattu in Arles, the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, the Galleria Civica in Modena, and at many other institutions.
An array of high-profile names from the photographic field and the wider world of culture have written about his work, including Vasco Ascolini, Quentin Bajac, Xavier Canonne, Daniele De Luigi, Luca Doninelli, Gigliola Foschi, Angelo Gioè, Walter Guadagnini, Ascanio Kurkumelis, Massimo Mussini, Vittorio Parisi, Robert Pujade, Michel Quétin, Gianfranco Ravasi and Georges Vercheval.