Manuele Cerutti

Elusione, 2011

Oil on Canvas

28 × 25 cm

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Manuele Cerutti’s Elusione is an ode to Magical Realism. But not the kind of Magical Realism one might expect.

The Magical Realism movement took quite distinct forms where it flourished in literature and in the visual arts. The term was coined in 1925 by the German art historian Franz Roh, who used it to describe a new wave of Post-Expressionist painting in which, he believed, smooth photographic clarity revealed the extraordinary within the ordinary. When literary critics appropriated Roh’s term, however, it was to describe a very different fashion in writing: that of interspersing explicitly supernatural elements within largely naturalistic narratives.

Elusione abandons the traditions of its own artistic mode to follow this literary manifestation of the genre. Its magical aspect is palpable, and sharply contrasted with its mundane realism. That is to say that the human figure, his casual, contemporary clothing, the gleaming metal stool, the scrub marks on the floor, the perfect shadow; all render the glowing hand and the levitating hoop before it particularly curious and enchanting, simply by force of contrast.

Then again, that halo of light which encircles the man’s fingers (and, in fact, his entire body, albeit to alesser extent) is highly reminiscent of the radiance often surrounding depictions of the figure of Christ.In this sense, the mysticism of Elusione can be seen as reinterpreting one of the most recognisable symbols in the history of western art. It seems Cerutti has not turned his back upon his visual medium after all.

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

November 2nd, 2017 until
December 29th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER