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Show & Tell: Paolo Ventura’s Miniature Venice at Hasted Kraeutler

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Paolo Ventura, “The Automaton of Venice” (2011)

Photographer Paolo Ventura’s series “The Automaton of Venice” was created based on a story he was told as a child about an elderly, Jewish watchmaker living in the ghetto of Venice in 1943, during Nazi occupation. The old man decides to build an automaton (an anthropomorphic robot), to “keep him company while he awaits the arrival of the fascist police who will deport the last of the remaining Jews in the ghetto.” The striking thing about these eery photographs is that they’re created from tiny models the artist creates of his fog-ridden, film-noir version of Venice. In this picture, a scattering of clothing and personal affects hints at the violent disappearances and disturbances of the era. Ventura has created a book of the same name, showing the full story of the Automaton of Venice in a series of photographs. [Paolo Ventura at Hasted Kraeutler]

— Kyle Chayka

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