Manuele Cerutti

La Forza del Sogno, 2015

Oil on Linen

133 × 195 cm

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Manuele Cerutti is attuned to the materiality of common objects, showcasing the inherent value of these objects through painting. His artmaking ritual involves sourcing his subjects from amidst everyday life, and then arranging them into de-contextualised physical compositions. This action recalls the workings of Arte Povera in the 1960s, when artists sought to challenge valuations of art by incorporating unconventional materials, such as soil twigs, and waste, into their work. However, where these movements favor common materials because they are valueless, Cerutti cherishes such objects because they are uncommonly valuable. In Cerutti’s practice, sculptural arrangements are translated into the language of oil painting, affirming mundane sights as deserving of the care and value traditionally associated with old masters.

The unfortunate sight of plastic caught upon branches or other structures is an ubiquitous sight in urban areas; In La Forza Del Sogno, The Power of Dream, Cerutti recasts this circumstance in the manner of assemblage. The resulting image appears foreign while emulating the familiar; a lurching limb bends to probe a translucent, indefinite clear plastic object form across the picture plane, the cast shadow upon the back wall representing a gnarled, snake-like form. When encountered in common life, these objects are vested with communal concerns. By de-contextualising these humble materials from their situation in public, Cerutti presents them in the manner of portraiture. Replicating the sights of modern life through innovative compositions and masterful painting, Cerutti gives viewers cause to reconsider the aesthetic value inherent to unlikely forms.

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