It is titled “Conversation Piece”, the solo show from Sabatino Cersosimo at Accesso Galleria in Pietrasanta from 16 July to 21 August 2017. In exposition, more than ten pieces, many of them created specifically for this occasion: steel plates where a skillful use of the oxidation process and oil painting – between unpredictability and control – gives life to subjects caught in intimate snap-shots.
A body of work, of medium and big dimensions, that reveals a dual soul: one strong, with industrial semblance given by metal and emphasized by welds, and one fragile, with rust invading the paint and suggesting decadence.
Dialogue is the theme of the show, from which comes the title “Conversation Piece”: the works as a whole create in fact a hypothetical scene of conversation, or – on the contrary – of a lack of it, asking for a reflection on the communicability of emotions. Dialogue between the subjects of the painting, between painting and painting, between painting and public, entire show and observer: the conversation pieces that were crowding the houses of collectors between XVIII and XIX century become, here, the very topic of discussion.
Cersosimo’s subjects – alone, in couples or in small groups – seem to be listening to something, speak with someone and involve the spectator in their mute dialogues. Men and women only leaving to imagine the secrets and words they spoke, heard and that they are still conceiving. In the piece Un rifugio per anime solitarie (A shelter for lonely souls, 2016, oil and oxidation on steel plates, 55x75 cm), for example, a woman of which only the face and hands are visible, not touched by the strain of the rust, aims her look towards an unknown elsewhere and “her hands are moving imperceptibly, like the ones of a director of orchestra, to disclose to us, like a sibyl, the words heard whispering there”, comments Giulio Benatti, author of the critical text accompanying the show.
Cersosimo’s dialogue is also formal though and swings between ancient and modern, classical and innovative, figurative and abstract. His technique comes from a phase of material experimentation started in 2012: after having oil painted for a long time on wooden planks, he was attracted by the reflecting aspect of steel. A little “accident”, a trace of sweat transformed by time in a burnished and rusty veil, suggests the artist a new element: water, capable of creating the figure through the alchemical process of oxidation.
From then on water, salt, oil paint and other elements alternated and combined on the steel plates; some single, others welded together to form pieces of big dimensions. The oxidation and rust subtend and surround the oil painting and a dualism results: embracing the desire to experiment and abstract on one side and to maintain palette and brushes of figurative painting on the other. Tradition and the will to explore new lands coexist and communicate, like art and humans do communicate in these works: because art, considered eternal, when covered by a veil of rust seems to withstand that transience, proper of human beings, and man is made eternal in return by the art piece.