A Focus on Pol Bury's Milano

At first glance, Pol Bury’s Milano looks like a postcard booklet, similar to those sold in touristic areas (a walk down the Eiffel Tower would give some illustration of that..). A closer inspection reveals that the images of Milan monuments have been re-processed, bits have been cut, distorted, pasted. The result is a visual tour de force, a melting pot of abstract op-art and urban photography. This process is named “Cinetizzazioni” by Pol Bury, a way of giving movement to a fixed image, though not in a realistic manner (especially in the case of monuments, made of stone).

The biggest surprise, to me, is less the work than its publication date : 1967. Pol Bury’s book resonates with many contemporary works which have to do with the status of image and re-processing. Think about Josh Smith books, Thomas Ruff jpegs, Eileen Quinlan abstractions, etc. Some books have this capacity of remaining fresh for a very long period of time (Brassaï’s Paris de Nuit would be another example, in the photography world). That’s probably a good definition of a classic.

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