Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Grazia Ricevuta/Received Grace, an exhibition of new photographs by Paolo Ventura. The exhibition will open on May 13th and run until June 5th. This is Ventura’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Italian photographer Paolo Ventura is known for constructing and photographing elaborate dioramas to tell cinematic visual stories. Ventura controls the entire artistic process - constructing and painting the small-scale scenes, photographing the sets, and hand-painting the photographs. He will often collage portraits of himself and his family to the surface of the photographs. The works, evocative of 1940s and 50s Italian Neorealism film, are both sweet and sorrowful.
For Grazia Ricevuta, Ventura created contemporary interpretations of the Italian tradition of Ex Voto painting. Beginning in the 1300s and up until the late 1970s, Ex Voto painters were commissioned by patrons to honour a Saint after they or a relative had experienced a close encounter with death. The small paintings were then gifted to churches and installed for all to see, as examples of everyday miracles.
Ventura's version of the Ex Voto is more playful and broader in scope. The imagined scenarios are fantastical, and their narratives closely tied to the specific histories of each Italian town they are set in. His visual metaphors are not just about avoiding death but also overcoming life's emotional struggles. Ventura has been fascinated by the Ex Voto tradition for over thirty years and has collected hundreds of paintings in this style from markets in Italy although today they are more difficult to find.
What is interesting to me is the commingling between the faith, magic, paganism and the incredible stories that you will find, sometimes very naive, ironic, absurd and surrealist, but very simple and straight at the same time. What I want to do is represent miracles much more surreal and strange but with the same powerful narration of the original ex voto.
- PAOLO VENTURA
To enter the viewing room, click here.
To view the virtual exhibition walkthrough, click here.
To watch the a short film on Paolo Ventura's studio practice, click here.