Description From the series The color of memory, oil on paper, 35 x 35 cm, 2016.These works come from some thoughts about classical sculpture. We know that the sculptures were originally colorful, and that the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures, but also the pre-Columbian cultures, favored, to decorate them, very bright colors. But the passage of time has given us these sculptures predominantly white, so, from the Renaissance until today, the sculptural representation of man is almost always monochrome. And it is interesting to think that if by some historical accident, the same thing had happened with painting, today we would paint with one color, and we would find it quite natural, just as the monochrome sculptures seem entirely correct. Obviously this reasoning should be much more complex, but for me it was only the starting point for a reflection on the way we perceive reality, and what is that influences it. Looking for an expedient that makes it look colorful something that is not.
Federico Cortese, Turin Member Since February 2012 Artist Statement I was born in 1971 in Turin, where I live and work as an independent artist and as an architect, collaborating with several design offices.
In my artistic research I am mainly interested in the study of language.
Every language is created with the purpose of communicating information. But each language also has formal rules stemming from the purpose for which it is used. Is it possible to isolate from one language only its formal rules, as if they were a decoration? And what happens if I apply that structure to another language? How its meaning will change? What will remain of the original meaning of the language?
When we consider a road map or a map of the territory we note that they contain different information that are represented by different means, according to the purpose for which they were created: each time we find colors, symbols and words that recall a precise meaning. What happens if I take these techniques of representation, these symbols, and take off the scope for which they were created and mingle them with each other? Will it be for the reader a text in a foreign language, that is meaningless, or through the world of associations and references that each of us possesses, will generate a new language?
In another example, a bar code is nothing but the representation of a series of numbers through lines of different thickness. Is it possible to extrapolate from that language his formal structure in order to develop a new language? This new language will be able to generate new meanings? To do this you can work on formal rules, studying possible changes and developments, increasingly moving away from the point of departure.
In my drawings I try to apply this process of work. The subjects of my study are the cartographic representation, the figures in the manuals of medicine, the sheets of the herbals with their rules for the classification of the plants, the ancient manuals that collect all the known form of real and imaginary animals, the facial expressions and physiognomy, the pornography, the structure of flags, and so on. All these are languages owning their own lexicon; my trial is to isolate and reinvent that lexicon.
In the oil paintings something different happens. I usually paint on canvas when I need to tell a story. Often this story takes origin form something that is related to my personal experience, or from my real life, something I’ve read, someone i’ve known. This is why the most part of my canvases aren’t part of a series but are isolated narrations.
My preferred techniques are classic oils on canvas paintings, and pencil drawings that I paint afterwards with oil colors. In both cases the work proceeds always sedimenting several layers one on the other.
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Anyone interested in more information about my work, the sales prices of individual works, the costs of the expedition or the availability for work on graphics can contact me at my email address or visit my website: