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Galerie XII Paris : Paolo Ventura : Le Passe-Muraille


From April 15th to June 3rd, 2023, Galerie XII Paris presents the first personal exhibition in a while in Paris of the Milanese artist Paolo Ventura. Inspired by the story Le Passe-Muraille (The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls) by Marcel Aymé, this new exhibition combining painting, models and photography, immerses us in the Paris of the 1940s.

Paolo Ventura is a multidisciplinary artist who has used different techniques (photography, collages, painting, sculpture, drawing, scenography) to create two- and three-dimensional works for more than twenty years. Built around images of “invented worlds” or “unrealities” in which the story unfolds like a dream, between imagination and memory, his deeply original work is shot through with a disturbing feeling of timelessness.

If War Souvenir (USA, 2005) evoked the atmosphere of the Second World War in the form of clay puppets and painted cardboard decorations, here he embodies himself, with a few members of his family in costumes and made up, the characters from his Short Stories, posing in front of decorations painted by his hands. All his work remains inhabited by the notions of double, mise-en-scène and illusion.

For his first exhibition at the Gallery, Paolo Ventura has imagined an original project combining various mediums and freely inspired by Marcel Aymé’s short story, The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls, which is the story of a completely ordinary man, but endowed with the extraordinary gift of being able to pass through walls, takes place in Montmartre in the Paris of the 1940s. This “Passe-Muraille” then embarks on many adventures until the day he loses his gift, thus finding himself forever prisoner of a wall . Paolo Ventura uses this tale as a pretext to reconstruct scenes of Parisian life, a romantic and violent story that spans the ages, in the form of transversal works including drawings, photographs, paintings, models and paper sculptures.


About Paolo Ventura
Son of an illustrator, the childhood of Paolo Ventura (born in 1968 in Milan) was rocked by the sketches and stories of his father. The wonder and the childlike passion still permeate his work of narrative staging where we regularly find images of street artists, theaters and cinemas, which are not without evoking certain compositions of paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec. Paolo Ventura’s scenes are tinged with nostalgia, but have an element from the realm of the strange or the fantastic that echoes his childhood: an overflowing imagination for those who think that the real world always seems a little too grey.

After studying painting in Milan, Ventura devoted himself to photography and settled in New York where he collaborates with fashion magazines, bringing from this time a very personal look to this formatted medium. At the same time, he began to work on personal projects which led to a first commission from the War Museum in Washington. War Souvenir marks the launch of Paolo Ventura’s artistic career with exhibitions in the main capitals, from Moscow to Milan, from Paris to New York. Since then, he has benefited from about thirty personal exhibitions in institutions and galleries, and participated in as many collective exhibitions.

In 2020, on the occasion of a major retrospective at the Centro Italiano per la Fotografia in Turin, the Silvana editions published a catalog raisonné of his work.


About Gallery XII Paris
Galerie XII Paris, formerly Galerie Photo12 founded in 2007 by Valérie-Anne Giscard d’Estaing specializes in contemporary figurative photography.

Member of the Professional Committee of Art Galleries, the Gallery strives to promote artists with a strong pictorialist sensibility, working on new forms of media with a multidisciplinary approach, particularly at the borders with painting, sculpture and collages.

Galerie XII Paris organizes exhibitions within its walls, contributes to the distribution of works through the organization of exhibitions with partner institutions and galleries through its “Hors Les Murs” program and participates in international fairs such as Paris Photo, Photo London, Photo Basel, Art Paris Art Fair, Photo Shanghai, Photo L.A and Modern Art Fair. The Gallery has also expanded internationally with the opening of a new space in the United States in 2018.


Paolo Ventura : Le Passe-Muraille
Exhibition from April 15 to June 3, 2023
Opening on Saturday April 15, in the presence of the artist from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Galerie XII Paris
14 rue des Jardins Saint-Paul 75004 Paris
Hours of operation :
Tuesday-Friday: 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday: 12 p.m.-7 p.m & by appointment outside these hours

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