Antonio Girbés

Photographer – Spanish


antonio girbes

Born 1952 in Tavernes de la Valldigna, Spain.

Antonio Girbés manifested a strong artistic interest from a young age, but it was only at the end of the 70´s that he decided to go to Paris to complete his professional training, at the prestigious American School of Photography, then under the direction of Jocelyn Karger, the Art Director of Condé Nast. There he came to know a number of leading artists who were to have an important influence on his work - including Reinhart Wolf, Helmut Newton, Guy Burdin, and Horst P. Horst, for whom he worked as an assistant in 1980.

After 1990, Girbés chose flowers as his primary subject matter. He worked with flowers given to him as a present, ones he encountered in public, and especially those from his own Denia garden. However, Girbés soon changed subject matter after surviving a decapitation attempt. After this traumatic event, Girbés decided never to return to his house or garden and dropped his favorite floral theme. 
That summer, on the 100th anniversary of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Girbés was invited, along with various teachers and archaeologists, to visit the excavations at Ephesus. During his visit, he encountered the head of the ancient figure Aresteion, whom he would later call Speechlesspriest. It was at this moment, Girbés has confessed, that flowers turned to stone and a new obsession entered his life.

He was then chosen by Achille Bonito Oliva for the First Valencia Biennial. In 2006 he took part in the 10th Venice Architecture Biennial in an exhibition produced and curated by Ivorypress entitled C on Cities. In 2011 he took part to the Real Venice project. Girbés uses architectural references from classical Venetian buildings, to create 'mandala' images - meditative symbols striving for unity of the self. This theme is a continuation from his previous project, Forbidden City, photographs of Oriental architectural details of the Forbidden City in China, composed as a 'mandala'.

His work has been displayed in New York, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Moscow and Tokyo, and has also been featured in many private and public collections, including the Estée Lauder Foundation, the Billy Collection, Gianni Agnelli, Egon Von Fürstenberg, Guido Orsi, La Caixa Foundation and the Musée de l’Elysée. He currently lives and works in Valencia