“I was born in Turin on January 13, 1941 at midnight in front of a bright fireplace and I must have seen the fire”
– Fulvio Venura
Fulvio Ventura was born in Turin on January 13, 1941.
He had a classical education and loved jazz music – which is the reason why he occasionally attended the USIS (United States Information Service) library – as they kept the jazz magazine Down Beat. Here, he discovers Edward Weston’s My Camera in Point Lobos, his first encounter with photography. However, in these years Ventura still only practiced painting.
During the university years in Milan he met Anna De Lorenzi and they married 1969 in Ghiffa, a small village overlooking Lake Maggiore, where they lived from the end of the 80s. Anna is not only Fulvio’s lifelong companion, but also his assistant in many of his photographic works.
In 1967 and 1968 Ventura briefly experimented reportage photography, but was not satisfied and soon abandoned it in favour of a different photography. In recounting that period he writes: ‘I envisioned my own way of taking photographs, different from the so-called ‘traditional’ photography or the committed image-making by the 1968 movements’.
It was in 1972, on a trip to Spain and Morocco, that he definitively embraced research photography. “I wanted to capture some metaphysical secrets,” he wrote. “From an early age I have considered the world as ‘cosmos’, which means beautiful (as in the Greek etymology), a good thing, as written in the Genesis. This is the only thing I can relate to.” His instrument is a Nikon (he later switched to the Leica, he also used the Rollei and other cameras) and the images are in colour.
During the same years he met Luigi Ghirri: a correspondance of souls that cannot be summed up in a biography and that will be the source of many collaborations.
In 1979 he exhibited at the Rencontres in Arles and in the same year also at the Gallery of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where many prints are preserved to this day.
In 1984 he took part to the famous exhibition at Pinacoteca di Bari, Viaggio in Italia.
Also the series Paesaggi con automobili (Landscapes with cars, inspired by a drawing by Waechter), curated by Roberta Valtorta and exhibited at Bocconi, dates back to the ‘80s.
He took part to 1987-97 Archivio della Spazio, ten years of Italian photography in the province of Milan, curated by Roberta Valtorta, and in 1993 he was at the Italian Pavilion in the Muri di Carta section curated by Arturo Carlo Quintavalle.
Fulvio Ventura died on 7 March 2020 in his house in Ghiffa, in difficult times when not even his friends could say goodbye to him.
The musician Giovanni De Zorzi remembers him as follows: “Among his many gifts, Fulvio had one for music: he was sensitive, receptive and had an innate taste, that he cultivated with great care. He had collected an enormous amount of recordings from diffent countries and genres. When we visited Fulvio and Anna in Ghiffa, he made us listen to rare records: he loved to share the act of listening with his guests: he was saying that, listening together, you discover things that you do not grasp by yourself”.
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