Village Fair, 2005

Paolo Ventura


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"I reconstructed images that followed me since I was a child. Of an Italy that I would have liked to have seen, but that no longer exists and perhaps never existed except in my own fantasy." —Paolo Ventura

Village Fair (Festa di paese), 2005, is from Paolo Ventura's War Souvenirs, his series of fictional World War II tableaux. Each image in the series features a detailed construction, meticulously designed and built by the artist. Some of the characters that inhabit the stage-like settings are toy action figures, others are made from fired clay; all are roughly the same size as Barbie dolls. Each setting takes about a week or longer to build, and is destroyed after Ventura photographs it. When Ventura was a boy in Italy, he spent time with his grandmother listening to stories and looking at family photographs from both World Wars. According to Ventura, 90% of the photographs sent home by European soldiers during WWII were taken in photographic studios, as most of the soldiers were too poor to own their own cameras. Ventura expressed the desire to enter these studio photographs and then exit out into the real context of the soldiers' lives. And so he places these wartime figures into his constructed streets and alleys; into death, loneliness, amusement, war, and desperate love--all in reduced, but realistic scale. Ventura seeks to deceive and create confusion between what we see and what we think we see.


Digital C-print
Print Paper Size: 14 x 11 inches
Print Image Size: 13 x 10 3/8 inches
Edition of 40 and no artist’s proofs
Signed and numbered by the artist

About the Artist Tab

Paolo Ventura (born in Milan, 1968) Paolo Ventura studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan in the early 1990s. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Forma International Center for Photography, Milan; Museum of Contemporary Art of Roma (MACRO), Rome; The Hague Museum of Photography, The Hague; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome and during the Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles. In 2012, he was selected to create a series of works for the Italian national pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, he also received a commission from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. And recently Ventura was invited for a commission by the MART, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy. Four monographs of Paolo Ventura’s work have been published: War Souvenir (Contrasto, 2006), Winter Stories (Aperture and Contrasto, 2009), The Automaton (Peliti Asociati, 2011) and Lo Zuavo Scomparso (Punctum Press, 2012). His is represented by the Weinstein Hammonds Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Edwyn Houk, New York. Ventura currently lives and works in Milan.