Manuele Cerutti

La Folla, Personaggio Primo, 2015

Oil on Linen

30 × 24 cm

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Manuele Cerutti is compelled by the unseen life of common objects. Tools, tableware and assorted miscellany populate his oeuvre of oil on linen paintings. Such items, typically defined in terms of their usefulness, are re-contextualised absent of human actors. Cerutti is more interested in intra-object relationships, creating unexpected assemblages of familiar materials which he then translates into pictorial form. In this way, the innate materiality and personality of items become foremost to the viewer’s consideration, and utilitarian connotations are discounted.

Although painting is Cerutti’s preferred medium, sculpture is integral to his process. His understanding of materiality, composition, and form are showcased in the selected work, as three distinct objects are depicted in a delicate balance. La Folla, Personaggio Primo portrays a metal spoon, that bears its weight upon the narrow edge of its handle, leaning against a wooden block that is affixed to a pronounced furl of white paper. The precariousness of this balance is belied by the composition of these forms, in which the paper, despite its known weightlessness, appears as a visual counterbalance to the spoon. Italian for The Crowd, First Character, the title hints at Cerutti’s conception of each object as possessing a distinct personality and role within the frame. He employs inertia and balance to situate these objects as co-actors sharing space, and weight, and the resulting interplay is dynamic yet composed.

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