n this first exhibition, curated by Nicoletta Boschiero, Paolo Ventura plays with two elements dear to Fortunato Depero, or the “Mago” (“Magician”) as the Rovereto-born artist and Futurist was familiarly known. The “Paolo Ventura. A Futurist magician” exhibition will be open from 22nd June to 13th October at the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero.
Although impalpable as dreams, the images resulting from Ventura’s approach have the evocative immediacy of popular illustrations. These photographs are the result of a careful composition and represent “possible memories” suspended between memory and imagination.
Two series of photographs for two stories in which the protagonist, the artist himself, appears in surreal poses in front of backdrops painted by himself that bring to life a story in which time is suspended, as happens at the circus, at a funfair or in puppet shows.
A city, recognisable as a “Sironesque” Milan, forms the theatrical stage of the first story in which a magician makes a “street urchin” disappear and appear before finally vanishing for good into the fog in the final frames. In the second story, the protagonist is a painter-soldier shown first in his studio, then at way and, finally, as an invalid.
The suggestion created by the artist’s photographs sets up a sense of expectation regarding aspects of time, childhood, innocence, war, mystery.
The impassive, fixed faces are the same we find in early daguerrotypes taken in photographers’ studios or at funfairs. The sense of estrangement arises from the evidence of the fake nature of the backdrop, which renders the project ironic and mocking.
Speaking about his work, Paolo Ventura adds a comment about the theme of disappearance, one he has already explored in other works: “I liked the idea of playing the part of someone who disappears. I chose the Magician, the Zouave in the first place because they are timeless figures, a part of me. Immutable figures, like priests or carabinieri who have succeeded in being transferred to any place at any time, and do not change. Their uniforms become costumes, like those of clowns. I like these figures that live in a non-time”.
The two series of photographs in the exhibition will also be appearing in “Il pittore futurista” and “Il mago”, published by Danilo Montanari Editore.