London, 7th January 2019: Dellasposa Gallery presents Kronos, an exhibition featuring new painting and photography works by contemporary artists Sabatino Cersosimo and Rad Husak. The show explores the expression of the human figure and the passing of time in painting and photography today. The name ‘Kronos’ derives from classical antiquity, representing the personification of time.
The exhibition is a move away from abstraction in contemporary art, demonstrating that the portrayal of people in art is a direct response to salient topics and issues of the 21st century—from identity, gender, distance, to privacy, love, and time. Both Cersosimo and Husak’s works engage with the genre of the human form using the materiality as a basis in a contemporary manner, inviting us to participate with the essence of time in the process.
Sabatino Cersosimo’s art explores psychological and relational complexity, with humanity and time as the principal focus in his paintings. While painting on a steel surface, Cersosimo employs the effects of oxidation, obtained with water and other natural elements. Such oxidations act on the metal through their uncontrollable nature, while representing the notion of time passing – the pathos of things – evoking the atmosphere of the moment vividly, while condemning man to the physical and psychological decadence of his time on earth. According to the artist, these paintings represent the classic (as they are figurative) with the contemporary (as experimental), naturally questioning mythology and its newness. Ancient history and literature are full of stories and legends that are nothing but the dramatisation of our fears, our weaknesses and our strengths.
The technique used for the artist’s work alludes to a double meaning that he wishes to convey; the strong soul of his subjects (indicated by the metal) and its most fragile part (the rust) that pervades the painting and suggests a moment, transient and now tarnished. Rust, usually a sign associated with the ruins of the industrial revolution, is performative in Cersosimo’s 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 and a dystopian sci-fi future.
Abstraction and realism live in symbiosis, allowing for an aesthetic dialogue to form between history and the will to create anew. 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. According to the artist, the process of creating the paintings is beyond his control, because of how the oxidations transform the metal and the space under the painted surface.
Curator Guilio Benatti said on Cersosimo’s work that, ‘It is as if Cersosimo would capture the disintegrating and unstable molecules and would fix the fragments on canvas; it is from the very metal and water that surfaces their timeless presence. It is a rediscovered beauty, but at the same time it manages to catch the moment before the dismantling in a still shot for eternity.’
Rad Husak is a contemporary process-driven artist whose practice is firmly situated in the expanded field of photography and print. His latest series explores the body is various ways, always askance but with the human element unmistakably as the subject. His portrayal of the male nude is infused with near-sculptural elegance and classical composure. The artist captures the male nude as a reflection of an ideal of beauty found in sculptures and paintings from ancient Greece and Rome.
For Husak, the nude represents an eternal standard, immune to the vicissitudes of time and history. The artist explores queer theory and gender studies in his study of the human form and in his work, we see the tradition of the nude meeting elements of pop culture from the 1950s and 1960s. The depiction of Husak’s nudes is also seen as a celebration of difference as much as it is an idealisation. With the image impressed upon sandblasted aluminium, there is a texture of stardust like shimmer that recalls Andy Warhol’s ‘Double Elvis’ series, and the repetition of the figure representing the body in motion.
The subject in Husak’s work recalls Jacques Lacan’s notion of mirror theory, where a split arises from being both the viewer and the viewed, and from seeing one’s self through the gaze of other people. With the figure often turned away from the viewer, the artist disrupts this pattern with a misdirected gaze. For Husak, his intention is to challenge ideas of the gaze in visual culture. The ‘glitch’ is a feature in much of the artist’s practice presented as the double exposure, the jolt and the jut; a digital imperfection, stuttering. Here lies the space created for the viewer’s imagination – it elicits movement and references the trace. Husak impresses the image onto metal surfaces, innovating a new and dynamic approach to printmaking while re-contextualising the image by employing modern glitch in technology; digitally altering and manipulating the image in the process.
Husak commented, ‘Dellasposa’s ethos of nurturing young emerging artists offered me a valuable opportunity to further develop the concepts and ideas which I had formed during my final year at the Royal College of Art. The joint exhibition with Sabatino Cersosimo creates a bold statement on our mutual interest in the figurative representation of the human form. Furthermore, what brings our practices closer together, is the unusual use of metal as a ‘canvas’ making it inherently synergistic. ‘Kronos’ allows me to exhibit a broader range of work both figurative and abstract to an important London audience. The first quarter of 2019 sees the inclusion of my monumental triptych and an abstract landscape, both on aluminium, at the CAA International Print Triennale in Hangzhou, China. I have also been selected to participate in the Discovery section of the prestigious Photo London Fair in May.’
In this artistic dialogue, the figure, the body, is a locus of transgression. Each artist is creating inspiring figurative works that speak to the present and offer glimpses into the future, in the circle of Kronos, highlighting the impact and the importance of time in the process of creation. Cersosimo’s work was initially inspired by the idea of the ‘frieze’. However, it’s not a relief; it’s an erosion. The image is figuratively a revelation, enacted by the corrosion of the surface. In Husak’s work, the image captures the body passing in time, as a trace of one’s presence impressed upon the surface. Their two very different approaches to the representation of the figure, and their use of technique converge to a point of materiality.