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June 2011

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC, Features Works by Eames Demetrios and Paolo Ventura

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, SC, is presenting two solo exhibitions by artists who have both created parallel worlds that exist outside of our shared reality: Kcymaerxthaere by Eames Demetrios and Winter Stories by Paolo Ventura. Both exhibitions will be on view through July 15, 2011.

Eames Demetrios has created Kcymaerxthaere, an alternative universe largely consistent with this physical world, but with different stories, creatures, rules, and even laws of physics. As Geographer-at-Large, Demetrios travels the world installing bronze plaques at historic sites that honor events from the fictional world of Kcymaerxthaere in our present, linear world. One can think of Kcymaerxthaere as an illuminated manuscript where every page is in a different location and some of the illumination is provided by the sensation or knowledge of being in that place.

By the end of this year, there will be approximately 90 permanent installations in 18 countries, including every continent (except Antarctica, so far). Charleston is now aº permanent, integral component in this tale, the largest public art project in the world. Demetrios is the 2011 Quattlebaum Artist-in-residence and a visual art offering of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

While Demetrios was in Charleston he worked with Simeon Warren, Dean and Professor of Architectural Stone Carving at the American College of the Building Arts, who carved “disputed likenesses” of the characters from the Kcymaerxthaere story in Charleston. Those characters were first depicted by students from the Academic Magnet High School after Demetrios integrated them into the project. Now, with thanks to professors Junius Wright and Michelline Callicot, AMHS students have created their own Kcy-derived story which has come to fruition on the school campus as well as online at (

The exhibitions and plaque installations have been brought to Charleston thanks to partnerships with the School of the Building Arts, Academic Magnet High School, Charleston Waterkeeper, CHARLIE magazine, and with support from the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Quattlebaum Artists-in-Residence Endowment for the College of Charleston School of the Arts.

Paolo Ventura has also created an alternate reality in his exhibition, Winter Stories. The Italian miniaturist and photographer has invented scenes from the memory banks of an old circus performer looking back on his life in this imaginative series of photographs. The photograph is actually the final product in a chain of creative processes, from initially drawing the scene in watercolor to constructing an elaborate miniature set with figurines to taking the final photograph. Using his own childhood memories and these mastered techniques, Ventura evokes both the sweet melancholy of an earlier era, while his images remaining timeless in their ability to resonate with contemporary audiences. Ventura’s miniatures and prepatory watercolor drawings from Winter Stories are displayed alongside their photographed images in the exhibition at the Halsey Institute. Winter Stories is the official visual arts offering of the 2011 Spoleto Festival USA.

In addition to Winter Stories, Ventura has created two additional bodies of work since his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan in the early 1990’s: War Souvenir (2005) and most recently Venice (2010). These series have been selected for inclusion in the 2011 Venice Biennale. Both War Souvenir and Winter Stories have been published into critically acclaimed, internationally distributed monographs that will be available at the College of Charleston bookstore during the run of Winter Stories in Charleston.

Born in Milan, Italy in 1968, Ventura’s works have been acquired by prominent public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Venues that have shown his work include Forma International Center for Photography in Milan, the Recontres de la Photographie in Arles, France, Fotomuseum Den Haag in the Netherlands, and Maison Europenne de la Photographie in Paris. Paolo Ventura currently divides his time between New York City and Italy.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is administered by the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston and exists to advocate, exhibit and interpret visual art, with an emphasis on contemporary art.

Guided group tours will be offered through the Halsey Institute’s Looking to See program. Contact Lizz Biswell by e-mail at (

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Institute at 843/953-4422 or visit (

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