Hasted Hunt is pleased to announce Paolo Ventura - War Souvenir, large format color photgraphs of fictional World War II narratives set in occupied Italy. This is Mr. Ventura's international gallery debut.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of the artist's first monograph War Souvenir (Contrasto 2006). There will be an artist reception and book signing on Saturday, April 22nd from 5 to 7 PM.
Mr. Ventura's photographs seem to be forensic of hidden camera images made in wartime Italy in the late 1930's and 1940's. The artist crafts remarkable but miniature period settings, and people's them with customized figures - GI Joe dolls - refashioned and appropriately costumed to be photographed. The resulting images are dark, often melancholy, sometimes tragic dramas.
This year Mr. Ventura will have a number of shows internanionally. Behsides Hasted Hunt in this country, the artist will have one-man shows in Moscow at the Photobiennale, in Artes (France) at les Rencontres de la Photographie, and in Milan (Italy) at FORMA, International Center of Photography.
The artist is based in Brooklyn and Milan. After a long and successful career as a fashion photographer, he concentrated on this more personal work. Images from War Souvenir and earlier color portraits of mummies in the Palermo catacombs have been published abroad extensively and in the US in The New Yorker and Harper's.
A haunting image of a solider seeming to be in flight as his body simultaneously decays into the earth was featured on the cover the American Photography annual last year. The images present a unique tension between truth and reality, memory and imagination.
A porfolio of images from War Souvenir was published last fall in Apeture with an essay by Francine Prose. She wrote:
Looking at these photos creates a moment of suspension, melancholy hush in which we almost imagine we can hear whispers about the riddles of life and death, time and age, childhood innocence and adult knowledge, art, war, history, and such questions as "What are we seeing" What do we think are seeing" And what we are concluding about what we think we are seeing.