An Interview with Sabatino Cersosimo.
Who and where are you from?
My name is Sabatino Cersosimo, I was born in Turin (Italy) in 1974 from southern italian parents who moved to the north in the 60's. They separated when I was a child and I grew up with my mother. I have always lived in Turin but in January 2011 I moved to Berlin after working several years in an art gallery as an assistant. That experience helped me to deal afterwards with galleries as an artist and to partially know how the art market works.
How you got into this?
As every child I loved drawing and painting. In the high school I studied advertising design, I was into illustration, but afterwards I went to the Academy of Fine Arts where I attended the course of Decoration, that was actually a mix of painting, sculpture and scenography, kind of "potpourri des arts" before definitely choosing painting as my language. After the academy I started working s an assistant in an art gallery which kept me, as I usually say, "behind art": I dealt with artists, curators and collectors; but as an artist I missed of course being the creative instead of the seller, so exactly ten years ago I decided to use my brushes almost everyday and focus more on my art than before.
To complete the path, I quit the job in the gallery and decided to move to Berlin because of the possibilities this city offered and also because I already had some friends from the german capital that were very happy to welcome me. Since then I drive everyday with my bike along the Spree (the main river in Berlin) to my studio in the Funkhaus (the former GDR Radio Station) in my atelier, that I could consider my second home as I spend there more time than in my flat. These days are very hectic cos I am working on an exhibition that will open on the 15th July in Tuscany, at the Accesso Gallery of Pietrasanta (Lucca).
What is your driving force?
Painting is the deepest way to express myself, free my feelings, my wishes, exorcise my fears. More and more it's almost like breathing.
What kind of work you do and why?
I am a figurative artist, I paint people. I don't consider my works as "portraits", although I paint friends and existing persons. What I usually do is painting an attitude, a feeling, or a story that can be hidden behind a face/body combined with specific titles. I often have an idea of what I would like to paint and then I look for the right person whom I normally know personally, except a few cases. These ideas come from my everyday life, from my personal experience but also from reminesciences of art, literaure, music and films (that are all very important in my education).
Before moving to Berlin I always painted on wood, but in 2012 I tried the steel plate and almost for accident I discovered its potentials: after making a small self portrait I noticed in a few weeks that the points of the surface where I put my hands were lightly rusted, so I decided to add water and salt to get a real layer of rust and the effect was amazing!
I have made a first series of little steel plates of 25x25 cm: "Metallgesichte(r)" (metal faces/visions) is a 29 pieces series, each one an "Experiment auf Stahl" (experiment on steel), representing faces appearing/disappearing in the rust. Since then, although I still paint on wood from time to time, the esthetic and symbolistic value of the oxidized steel combined to the figure painted with oil colours has become the main interest for me. Without considering the rust as a honey trap, I try to keep it to the state of necessary and measured element in the painting. Can Art, always considered eternal, endure time’s permeability, like the life of humans and things do? From the very first day unpredictability and the will to control are the two opposite forces characterizing this technique, still subject to transformations.
Oxidation and oil painting allow for an additional dualism: the desire to experiment and abstract on one side, while still maintaining palette and brushes in the figurative painting. Abstractionism and realism live together on the same surface and allow a dialogue, a debate between comforting tradition and the will to move towards new lands.