The Automaton of Venice
Paolo Ventura lives and works in Anghiari, the small village in northern Italy where he grew up. He has created three bodies of work, War Souvenir (2005) and Winter Stories (2007-2009), both of which were published in books, exhibited widely and critically acclaimed, and mostly recently, Venice (2010). Paolo Ventura’s photographs are narratives set in Italy in the 1940s-1950s, fictional reimaginings of the period and its characters, including a circus performer who is the subject of Winter Stories and an elderly watchmaker living in Nazi-occupied Venice who is the subject of Venice. The photograph is actually the final product in a chain of creative processes, from initially drawing the scene in watercolor to constructing an elaborate miniature set with figurines to taking the final photograph. Paolo Ventura has been selected for the Italian national pavilion of the prestigious Venice Biennale 2011.