Winter Stories

Photographs by Paolo Ventura

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14 x 11 1/2 inches 120 pages, 65 four-color images Hardcover 978-1-59711-133-1 Fall 2009 Designed by Inger-Lise McMillan

In Winter Stories, a beautiful and enchanting volume limited to 2,000 copies, internationally acclaimed artist Paolo Ventura presents scenes from the memory bank of a fictional circus performer as he looks back on his life during his final moments. Using his own childhood memories, beautiful miniature figures, and extraordinarily detailed sets constructed from props purchased at flea markets, Ventura creates a fictional Northern Italian town where a traveling carnival has stopped. Ventura's work evokes a simpler time from Italy's past, but with a dark twist—shadowy backdrops and retreating figures remind us that this is not quite Eden. A master of narrative staged photography, Ventura brings his imagined stories to life by building three-dimensional sets in miniature. With an essay by Eugenia Parry, Winter Stories showcases the ink drawings and watercolors that Ventura uses as a starting point for his stories, and images of the handmade album of Polaroids of works in progress that he creates as guides to his elaborate sets.

Paolo Ventura (born in Milan, 1968) studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan in the early 1990s. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at Forma International Center for Photography, Milan; Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France; Fotomuseum Den Haag, Netherlands; and Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris. Ventura is represented by Hasted Kraeutler, New York. He lives in New York City.

Eugenia Parry (essay), formerly professor of art history at Wellesley College and the University of New Mexico, has published and lectured widely on the histories of art and photography. Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in creative nonfiction.