Paolo Ventura, The Birdwatcher #1 & #2, 2013.

I have invented a past that never existed... a timeless place.” 


Galerie XII Los Angeles is pleased to celebrate its first anniversary with the solo exhibition of world-renowned, Milan-based artist Paolo Ventura. The exhibition of Ventura’s magical photographic works, “An Invented World”, spans six series made over the last decade and will provide the most comprehensive overview of the renowned Italian artist’s oeuvre on the West Coast to date, including the debut of new works.


Paolo Ventura (b. 1968) has been referred to as one of the art scene’s most interesting storytellers with his timeless and charmingly enigmatic works. Widely known for his elaborate narrative series acted out by the artist and his family, the whimsical allegories touch upon many facets of the human condition within life-size diorama cityscapes, reminiscent of war-time Italy, which are constructed entirely by the artist. By creating fictional worlds as stage design, the artist is able to physically inhabit the stories of his imagination. 

Paolo Ventura, Behind the Walls #5, 2011.

The exhibition begins with Ventura’s third body of work Behind the Walls (2011), and notably the first in which he began inserting himself into his images. With access to a larger studio in Anghiari, his hometown in Italy, Ventura was able to now construct larger, life-size sets and backgrounds having moved from a Brooklyn apartment where his first two series were made using puppets and small dioramas. 

The works on view then progress through a selection of his caricatured self-portraits in Short Stories (2012-2015) working with his wife and son in playful serial pieces to more recent large-scale pieces from Collages (2017-2019), which make up a predominant portion of the exhibition. These new works are constructed of multi-panel collages featuring an anonymous cityscape where the character(s) seem to perpetually recede in significance relative to the scene or sometimes are not present at all (La Citta che scende, 2019).

Paolo Ventura, Giardino Primaverile, 2017
Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery

Where for most of the decade Ventura had utilized himself to enliven the characters of his imagined history portrayed in straight photographs, the influence of painting and the ambiguous stories of the cities themselves take on more significance in later works on view. The small diorama series Morte e Resurrezione II, 2018 and a unique three-dimensional work from his Paper Sculptures (2014-2016) will have their exhibition debuts as well, giving a further overview of Ventura’s expansive and unique practice that has garnered him international critical acclaim.

Paolo Ventura, vanishing man (trailer)
Paolo Ventura - Vanishing Man
Documentary Official Trailer - Click Image to View

Paolo Ventura has been the subject of more than forty-five international solo exhibitions since 2006 and was featured in the Italian pavilion of the 2011 Venice Biennale. His work is held in prominent collections of museums across Europe and North America and is featured in the current exhibition “Make Believe” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He lives and works in Italy.   

Galerie XII Los Angeles is open Wednesday – Saturday from 11am – 6pm and by appointment: / 323-917-5106

For press requests, contact / 917-892-4700, or

About Galerie XII

Galerie XII Los Angeles was founded by Valerie-Anne Giscard d’Estaing in 2018. The LA gallery is the brand’s third international space, following the debut of Galerie XII Paris in 2007 and Galerie XII Shanghai, which opened in 2017.  The galleries have showcased the works of top international photographers including Willy Ronis, Guy Bourdin, William Claxton, Benno Graziani. Jean-Marie Périer, Anja Niemi, Mona Kuhn and Paolo Ventura. 


The editorial line of Galerie XII Los Angeles centers on contemporary figurative photography and its programming aims to exhibit established European and Asian photographers and artists who have not previously shown on the West Coast. The gallery organizes five or six solo exhibitions each year and participates in several art fairs. Galerie XII Los Angeles is located near LA’s famed Museum Row on Miracle Mile (6150 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048). 

Free parking is available on site.
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 11 am - 6 pm, and by appointment.
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