In 1976 Gabriele Basilico still doesn’t know whether to be a photographer or an architect. When in doubt he does not abandon photography and begins to accept professional assignments trying to combine both passions, as in his personal investigation of Milan. In the same year he finds himself in Rimini to photograph the Grand Hotel but discovers something unexpected.
Randomness, or as Giovanna Calvenzi writes magic, are part of the story behind the book Not reviewed, published in June by Humboldt Books. While doing the work in Rimini, Basilico meets some artists who perform at the Lady Godiva, a night club near the hotel. After the first timid shots, he lets himself be carried away by the ease and charm that each of them emanates. It is an unusual situation for him, who in that period carried out the photographic census of the Milanese factories and did not take portraits. The wizards, clowns and strippers of the Lady Godiva introduce him to the show, with an enthusiasm that seems not to care about their decline.
After this experience, Basilico returns to Milan with the idea of continuing the project and he succeeds, also thanks to the collaboration of the journalist Tamara Molinari of the magazine Abitare. For two years the theaters and nightclubs of the city opened their doors to him without any problems. We even get to a prototype of a book but everything stops because many of the artists photographed are not traceable and because in the meantime Basilico’s fame is growing thanks to his works on architecture and metropolises, not cabarets.
What remains of this parallel adventure ends up in a box, lost in the removals until 2020, when it reappears, almost by magic, in a closet where it has already been searched several times. Finally, the time has come to revive the project. “It is time for the ‘not reviewed’ to come out of the closets and face the reviews”, writes Giovanna Calvenzi in the book, also accompanied by an imaginary dialogue conceived by Joan Fontcuberta.