Manuele Cerutti

La Folla, Personaggio Sesto, 2015

Oil on Linen

35.3 × 30.1 cm

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Manuele Cerutti, born 1976, is an Italian painter based in Turin. Through his practice, Cerutti offers a refreshing outlook on the genre of still life by representing the subject in its simplest form – elevating it to its truest essence. In the simplicity of objects sitting in a space, the artist observes the stillness of the present and finds the balance between the known and the unknown.

In La Folla, The Crowd, the daily tradition of having coffee is predictable to the point of becoming stuck in time: Cerutti describes the ritual of making coffee as an empty, unscrewed, stovetop coffee maker – going against the standardised social setting it’s usually placed in. Cerutti sees the object in its essence as he elevates it as a model, portraying it as the protagonist of the painting.

Half of the coffee maker rests against the wall, as it was probably left to dry from the washing of the day before – or a washing that just happened.

In this moment of contemplation, the audience is suspended between past and future: unable to predict what just happened or what will come next, we stand in stillness, in the present moment, only able to predict a future cup of coffee.

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