Paolo Ventura: Short Stories
Gallery Baton is pleased to showcase the third solo exhibition of Paolo Ventura (b. 1968), Short Stories, from February 4th to March 6th at the Apgujeong exhibition space.
Since his early series, Winter Stories, Paolo has actively applied Diorama techniques as a tool for rooting his artistic imagination to photographs. He has developed the style over the series by creating different selection of the images or interpretation of background. As if an art director constructs a still frame by creating the space described in the script through imagination and historical research as well as elaborately preparing the character's clothes and make-up, the artist achieves visualization of the 'Scene' that used to stay in the imaginative area by combining the props in miniatures and the background that connotes spatiotemporal information through Diorama techniques. Presented as a series, his works share a particular time and space of modern Europe, especially Italy after World War II. This spatiotemporal property is used as a device to support the central theme of the series as well as to lead each independent subsection.
Paolo's Diorama techniques also suggest solution to the relative heterogeneity of photography within the logic centered to painting. It is interesting that the role of a camera becomes a neutral observer or an archivist in his works as he creates mostly all Images within the rectangular frame in their three-dimensional space of the background with his oil-painting technique.
The artist's new body of work in this exhibition, Short Stories, is a series of images consisting of listed stories that resemble the structure of short story books. A notable characteristic of Short Stories is that the artist along with his identical twin brother Andreas Ventura (b. 1968) and his son appears as the main protagonist in every story.
Becoming the subject in the work is the style that the female photographer Cindy Sherman (b. 1954) has adhered to spanning her entire career. However, there is a difference in the method of expression since Paolo appears in his works as a protagonist and a commentator leading the narrative in the time and space that he created. The stories told by exaggerated gestures relying on the background and clothing can be seen as the revival of the storytelling method in the silent picture days. The artist intentionally prepared the background space to be similar to the theatre stage but not as a replica of actual scenery, and this makes the drawn analysis more possible than the previous series.
Artificial reality created by the artist's Diorama techniques in the previous series has constantly challenged the realm of original with visual imperfections of human. In Short Stories, however, the spatial description is restrained while the characters become the main center in the composition. Therefore, the magical imagination and the journey of telling the orally passed on stories become the structure of the work.