Artist in Focus: Sabatino Cersosimo

Feb 18, 2017 12:04PM

Sabatino Cersosimo was born in 1974 in Turin, Italy. After graduating with a degree in Advertising and Design from the Instituto Albe Steiner in 1993, he went on to study painting at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti of Turin, where he completed his degree in 1999. He now resides in Berlin, where he works in his atelier. 

The psychological and relational complexity of mankind is at the centre of Cersosimo’s aesthetic interests. Following a line that has its roots in expressionist painting and the Viennese Secession, Cersosimo’s paintings blend his interests in realism and expressive gestures. Developing his own technique, the artist paints his subjects on a steel surface, where he explores the effects of oxidation obtained by the introduction of water and other natural elements.

Sabatino Cersosimo, Da un'altra parte, 2016. Oil and oxidations on 10 welded steel plates, 100x100 cm

Here, Da un'altra parte proposes a fascinating dialogue between two different narratives as the work engages in an oscillation between a state of realisation and a state of disappearance. Rust, usually a sign associated with the ruins of the industrial revolution is performative in the work. Like a composition for piano four-hands, rust becomes Cersosimo’s painting partner, performing a score that beautifully blends evocation of Pompeii's mural paintings with industrial imagery in a sequence of sci-fi medusas. The painting conveys the passing of time through its very materiality. Reading the faces depicted can be twofold: an accomplishment from rust, or the irreducible part of identity that rust cannot corrode. Cersosimo’s representation of the subject’s visage represents the fluidity and fragmentation of man’s identity. Here, the raw materials of oxidation, oil paint and varnish offers up a sensual delight in its coppery iridescence; its composition is enlivened by its elegant brushstrokes that radiate outward with visceral energy, creating an attractively shimmering patina. 

Cersosimo’s approach is an embrace of metamorphosis, leaving the viewer to wonder whether we can accept the changes in our lives as abidingly as the work of art does. By incorporating the industrial use of steel and its oxidation, the artist draws upon water’s transient and destructive nature as both nurturer and destroyer; it exposes the fragility and temporality of our existence, having the power to transform and reinvent oneself or to fragment and corrode. This vividly evokes the uncertain time in which we all live, lamenting mankind’s physical and psychological decadence during our time of earth.

Sabatino Cersosimo, Fregio (Fourth Movement - Aqua), 2016. Oil and oxidations on 5 welded steel plates, 50x75 cm