Manuele Cerutti

Luce Intermedia, 2011

Oil on Linen

100 × 110 cm


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Artwork
Description

In this painting by Manuele Cerutti a man, leaning down to spread out a large piece of linen – perhaps an artist about to begin his painting? Described literally, this work offers us a ‘behind-the-scenes’ image of the sort we would expect: the viewer positioned as witness, thus no reciprocal gaze, an ‘in medias res’ effect of immediacy, of noticing the man through a peephole. But this simplicity triggers a more subjective reading. The clues are sparse, the absent background left for our imagination to fill. This work is shrouded in enigma, imbued with the sort of mystery the first lines of a novel would call for: the man’s identity, where and what he is doing precisely, and why, are kept secret – and this ellipsis makes room for Manuele Cerutti to zoom in on the texture of the cloth itself Perhaps it is the linen, then, that becomes, the subject, and the man thus relegated to a prop?

Perspective-wise, our eye is drawn instantly to the floor, to that large piece of fabric that is the actual catalyst for this story. Luce Intermedia is endowed with a quiet rhythm, a curious kind of pulse as we, subconsciously perhaps, follow the ridges and folds of the material, its three dimensionality – and the more we look at it, the more its aspect shifts from real and tangible to oddly mesmerizing –  nearly hypnotic, like a dance.

About
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
exhibition

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