The enchanted world of Italian-born fine art photographer Paolo Ventura is being brought to London by ATLAS Gallery this autumn with the photographer’s debut solo show in the UK – The Infinite City. The exhibition exposes the delightful and unusual processes employed in his work, a symbiosis of different art forms from illustration and miniature model making to photography and painting.
On both sides of the Atlantic, Ventura is considered one of the stars of contemporary art, a true artist working in the photographic medium who bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary forms. Theatre and performance are at the essence of his work, and it was during his career as a fashion photographer that he developed a talent for creating fictional worlds, combining his skills in model making and photography. He started to build and photograph miniature sets in his studio of imagined scenes that he was unable to find or stage in the real world. Many of his projects start with illustrations, following in his father’s footsteps as a children’s book illustrator.
For The Infinite City, miniature buildings and pavements were constructed and photographed using a Polaroid camera, before being altered by hand. Groups of 5 or 10 images are framed and assembled in such a way that they produce futuristic skylines envisaged by Ventura. The body of work includes small unique groupings of hand-painted 4” x 5” photographs alongside the scale models of the city which will be shown together in the ground floor gallery. The newly published book, The Infinite City, will also be on display and for sale at the gallery during the show.
On the lower ground floor gallery, ATLAS Gallery will also show new works from Ventura’s Stories, including The Magician, The Bird Watcher and The Knife Thrower – these have never before been exhibited anywhere in the world. The theatrical photographs feature Ventura himself alongside other actors including his son Primo, acting out fictional scenes using painted backdrops, costumes and props found in vintage shops. One of these backdrops will be hung in the gallery with its own stage, alongside the ‘stories’ which are laid out like children’s books, with text alongside each image. Along with these prints (for sale as individual works or as complete series), unique signed photo-books containing each series will be exclusively launched at ATLAS Gallery, with annotations and drawings by Ventura.
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