Photographer Paolo Ventura’s Invented Worlds at the Italian Academy

February 05, 2013

Referencing history, art and the subconscious, Paolo Ventura’s photographs function as architectural relics of the imagination, portraying characters and scenarios that are magical, poignant and strangely familiar—he calls them invented worlds.

His work interprets some of the stories he was told by his father, a children’s book author, and other tales he has imagined for himself. The Milan-born photographer, who has shown at the Venice Biennale, creates his haunting images by constructing intricate miniature sets and then photographing them.

An exhibition of Ventura’s recent work at Columbia’s Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America features images from three of his series: Winter Stories, which portrays the imagined memories of an old circus performer; The Automaton of Venice, based on his father’s story of an elderly Jewish watch maker living in the Venice ghetto in 1943; and Behind the Walls, which introduces the artist as a character in an imagined narrative.

The exhibition, curated by Renato Miracco, cultural attaché to the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., is on view through March 8. For more information, visit www.italianacademy.columbia.edu.

—Story by Columbia News Staff
—Video by Columbia News Video Team