The imaginary universe of Paolo Ventura (1968, Milan) is an explosion of fantasy inserted in a potentially true reality. At first sight he tells us about the distictly possible and beauty, but a second glance on his photographs is always needed to capture all the visual illusion they contain. Ventura builds everything: he is a carpenter, costume designer, painter, miniaturist, illustrator, pattern maker and photographer. His enigmatic circus is crowded with bizarre protagonists: acrobats, soldiers of the Second World War, balloon sellers, automata, tightrope walkers, anarchists, clowns, lovers and illusionists. The dioramas he creates and the characters he makes up come from the work of his hands and his thoughts in freedom. “I use photography because people think what they see is real - even if they know it’s a model”. Only in the most recent series, Short Stories, he himself becomes one of the subjects in the flesh, a controversial hero of his sequences.

All images ©Paolo Ventura

FACT SHEET | number of works | 74 color photographs additional material | a diorama, 7 costumes, 2 backdrops, artist’s books and the video Paolo Ventura Vanishing Man (47’) print sizes | various sizes, from 40 x 50 cm to 56 x 66 cm frames | wooden curator | Enrica Viganò in collaboration with | Cotroneo’s Collection