Manuele Cerutti

Gradazioni (II), 2015

Oil on Linen

152 × 102 cm

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Manuele Cerutti’s style is characterised by his consistent adherence to figurative realism, working in oils to depict scenes of uncommon sights involving common components. Compelled towards items that oft go unnoticed, Cerutti arranges unusual and surprising sculptural compositions that become the subjects of his paintings. In doing so, the mundane becomes a site of possibility, and common barriers to aesthetic interests are obscured.

Depicting his penchant for composing assemblages, Cerutti emphasises his interest in elevating lowly subjects. In the selected work, this focus is given clear form through his contrasting depiction of dual sculptures. Readily discernible, illuminated by a bold swathe of light, is an assemblage showcasing an upheld red glove, given support by a long stick. In the shadowy corner of the depicted space, a sculptural representation of a human body is obscured, literally overshadowed by the arrangement to its right. Alternatively to the glove’s upward situation, the human form shown is only discernible as such on the lower half, weighed upon its base. Manuele Cerutti presents two forms of disparate subject matter in stark contrast to one another, the resultant composition emphasising his heightened reverence for commonly unremarkable objects.

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