Manuele Cerutti

Algoritmo, 12 (Craquelure), 2019

Oil on Linen

18 × 24 cm

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Manuele Cerutti’s practice is concerned with an exploration of the world of objects: the careful, silent observation of what things do, in what balance they fall into, when humans are not interfering, is at the core of his artistic enquiry. His latest series of works takes inspiration from an essay by sociologist Gian Antonio Gilli, who observed how many natural forms follow clear patterns, such as the Fibonacci sequence, while others seem to manifest themselves in more arbitrary shapes and patterns. Perhaps, he postulates, these arbitrary forms are not arbitrary at all: they follow another algorithm, albeit one that is not as regular, not as mathematically describable as the Golden Ratio. While scientists might not be able to pin it down, Gilli suggests that artists and poets should try. Manuele Cerutti looks at some of the natural phenomena cited by Gilli, and indeed identifies the irregular zigzag line – the same paradigm underlying art historical depictions of lightning bolts – as the hidden pattern behind these occurrences. Algoritmo, 12 (Craquelure) could be described as an art metastory: isolating the forehead belonging to Philip IV at Fraga painted in 1644 by Diego Velàzquez, Cerutti focuses on the craquelure spreading through the king’s forehead like a bolt of lightning tearing through the clouds. In a captivating trompe l’oeil, paint imitates paint cracking, the failing of the material itself. Philip IV is largely regarded as a weak ruler, however he was a generous patron of the arts and one of Velàzquez foremost supporters. It is possible to glimpse a parallel between the literal craquelure and the metaphorical veneer cracking over an ill-fated reign, torn by war, which nonetheless left to posterity the triumphant paintings by Velàzquez and the memory of the splendor of Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid.

the artist

Manuele Cerutti (b. 1976, Italy) is an Italian painter graduated from the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti, Turin. His works have 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 2021 he was awarded the prestigious Rome Fellowship by the American Academy in Rome, where he completed in a yearlong residency. In 2022 his works were shown along with the other artists-in-residence of the foreign academies in Rome at the exhibition Spazi Aperti at the Romanian Academy. Other recent exhibitions include the online Artuner exhibition, "STUDIOSCAPES: 2021", an Artuner solo show in 2018 titled "Standing, Waiting" in Brussels, and the Artuner group show "Lost and found in paradis" in Paris in 2019. 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 of balance and precariousness. The artist adopts clean lines and a thin layer technique, in order to create a dialectal relationship between different moments in 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 with new unstable relationships in 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.

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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

October 12th, 2019 until
October 30th, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER