Every year Fondazione di Sardegna promotes and supports the production of original artworks from a contemporary artist who is hosted for a couple of weeks in Sardinia. In 2020 the acclaimed photographer, painter and set designer Paolo Ventura (Milan, 1968) was invited to take part in this project and the result is now visible, until March 2022, within the spaces of the Sardinian cultural institution, in Cagliari, in an exhibition titled Viaggio in Sardegna - Lo sguardo esterno that has also seen the support of public and private lenders.
Over the course of his career, Paolo Ventura has been able to build a complex and sophisticated identity ambiguously playing between reality and fiction. It is interesting to say that his work is entirely staged in Studio from the building of small hand-made and hand-painted sets, often animated by the presence of fictional characters (personified by Ventura himself or by his family members) that - only at the end of the working process - get translated again into two-dimensions by the photographic camera. Photography thus becomes a component of a broader visual narrative that proceeds by construction and sedimentation of different stories and elements.
For Fondazione di Sardegna the artist has instead proceeded by removal.
The photographic prints of the urban landscapes from the main Sardinian cities and neighboring countryside have been modified through the use of acrylics that have erased any disturbing element and chromatically highlighted volumes and layerings, transforming the real into the imagined.
"I always try to set my stories in another dimension - the artist said - Someone can see it as a past, but it can also be a future".
If Viaggio in Sardegna also wants to tell how the island was represented during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (with two special sections dedicated to vintage photography and visual arts that present among others Vittorio Alinari, Uberto Bonetti, Giulio Cisari), it is therefore no coincidence that, at a certain point, the curator Marco Delogu decided to compare the Church of San Saturnino in Cagliari, a photographic print of 1927 by the German photographer August Sander, with the Church of San Saturnino by Paolo Ventura printed in 2021.
Thomas S. Eliot wrote in 1936:
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Almost one hundred years after Sander's trip to Sardinia, Paolo Ventura guides us with his personal representation of an eternal present and therefore timeless space, where the poetry lies in the outline of thin architectural lines, in the underlining of the red, yellow and blue volumes and in the animation of small dots of color.
Viaggio in Sardegna - Lo sguardo esterno
Photography Section curated by: Marco Delogu
Visual Arts Section curated by: Maria Paola Dettori
December 18th 2021 - March 31st 2022
Fondazione di Sardegna, Cagliari, Italy