Manuele Cerutti

Affermazioni (III), 2011-12

Oil on Linen

41.2 × 41.2 cm

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Manuele Cerutti considers inanimate objects as vested with their own innate life, independent of the human actors that employ or enjoy them. Consequently, depictions of human subjects are a rare feature of Cerutti’s oeuvre of oil paintings, as he is more concerned with the interplay between objects than human engagement. When human subjects do appear, they become almost objectified, placed in a role subservient to the acting force exerted by a dominant object. In doing so, Cerutti highlights aspects of physicality and form, while also commentating upon the social connotations that vest items with their typical use and accepted value.

Human beings may form objects, utilize them and wear them, they are also acted upon by them, and this force is most apparent in consideration of clothing. Sartorial choices make a marked social impression, capable of expressing social class, economic standing, personality traits and apparent interests. Affermazioni (III) relates to these charged items, featuring a bearded man luminously rendered in a white off-shoulder dress. His hair is filled with flecks of white accessories, accenting the overall impression as bridalwear. In this composition, the dress is the defining object, as it overtakes the subject with its socially associated gendered connotation. In doing so, Cerutti makes apparent his aims as an artist, being to illuminate the overlooked significance of common objects. In relation to clothing, this fixation is readily observable and commonly understood.

the artist

Manuele Cerutti (b. 1976) is an Italian painter graduated from the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti, Turin. His works has featured in numerous institutional exhibitions, including at the Wilhelm Hack Museum and Stadtmuseum Oldenburg in Germany, the Italian Cultural Institute in London and the GAM in Torino. In 2004 he was awarded the Illy Present Future prize. He currently lives and works in Turin. Manuele Cerutti's paintings are located at the intersection between the history of art, and the artist’s will of rediscovering the object’s essence, taking its pictorial representation as a springboard for further reflection. Stones, bones and scraps of metal, collected by the artist over the years, rest dormant in his studio, until the moment they turn from inert shapes into works of art on his canvases. Taken out of their original context, these ‘actors’ sit for the artist in compositions that are always on the border between balance and precariousness. The artist adopts clean lines and a thin layer technique, in order to create a dialectic relationship between different moments of his narrative. He considers the error, the pentimento as integral to the accomplishment of an artwork. His paintings call to mind stratigraphy; where amongst different layers it is possible to discern evanescent presences in his paintings. Often, such presences are human subjects portrayed in the act of supporting, or contemplating the object – the real focus towards which the whole composition points. In Cerutti’s oeuvre, even car mirrors are divested of all conventional attributes determined by their function, in order to experiment new unstable relationships with space. In the context of his works, roles are subverted: the human being does not emerge as a protagonist anymore, it is rather the object that reclaims its status as a peer to Man. The artist leads the viewer to modify their perception towards daily life elements, which too often pass unnoticed. Although Manuele Cerutti's structures might seem comparable to the tradition of still-life painting, the difference between them is radical: the artist confers a subjectivity to forms that are traditionally inert, that are considered mere ob-jecta. Such subjectivity turns them into protagonists which should be interpreted on the same level as any other social actor.

Cerutti’s oil paintings depict objects in a way that is more reminiscent of portraiture than still life. Humble, inconspicuous objects that belong to the artist, which were forgotten and then repurposed as a means for exploring a more universal set of values, become the sitters for these unlikely portraits.

Manuele Cerutti
on Artuner

Part of the

May 3rd, 2018 until
May 31st, 2018
Curated by ARTUNER