Thanks a Million
Dark grey granite, cedar totem, wood burning pen, greetings cards messages
Zoë De Luca: The work selected by the award, Thanks a million, starts from a standardized language to explore the processes of Monoculturalism. How did you approach this topic?
Guendalina Cerruti: In the past, in my work, I used phrases like Love you bye, I never meant to hurt you, Get well soon. I am fascinated by this use of language, specific to digital communication, instant messaging, social media interactions where manifestations of feelings and closeness become slogans, decorations. This form of language finds its ultimate expression in greeting cards, through a combination of words, fonts, colours, and images.
ZDL: Slogans that mark the emblematic stages of life, or rather of all lives.
GC: The greeting cards become symbolic representations of cultural experiences: a birthday, Father's Day, a milestone reached such as university or a driver's license, which along with balloons, bows and butterflies want to outline our time experience without taking cultural differences into account. The concept of Monoculturalism is reflected precisely in the idea that the experience of the human being can be enclosed by combining all these greeting cards, from the celebration of birth, to condolences to the family of a dead person. Thanks a million stems from this reflection and maybe seeks with bitter irony a deeper meaning.
ZDL: Your sculptures and installations often have a potentially performative component, whether it is the use of kinetic objects or the preparation of displays that invite to interact, like a silent request for attention.
GC: Yes, coming to think about it, there is a performative element in my work. I think of a performative presence of the objects. A performativity that is perhaps an expression, deriving from a specific attention for aesthetic and material choices and a strong communicative intention. I like to think that my objects, paintings, and sculptures can have a presence more like that of a person than that of an object. Maybe like a person who does not speak. In this sense, I think of an intense expressive quality that invites to interaction, that requires attention.
ZDL: The common denominator of your work is the isolation of easily recognizable elements, reduced to the minimum terms and recontextualized to trigger other narratives. To what extent are you interested in their fruition?
GC: Precisely for this communicative aspect of my practice the viewer has a particularly important role. The use of easily recognizable elements and the repetition of the latter interests me to facilitate the use of the work and to amplify the narrative aspect. For example, in You and Us the use of simple elements such as fir, a stylized snowy cartoon style landscape and fabrics with childish prints allows me to focus on the composition of the different elements, on their conceptual value, on their storytelling potential. I want my work to operate on multiple levels of communication, through different dimensions of language, while maintaining an and a precise vision and intention.
ZDL: Very often the deconstruction of these scenes relies on perceptual experience, creating a sort of déjà-vu…
GC: Yes, I like how the perceptual experience is not preserved as a memory through a more or less precise image, but that, instead, it translates into a feeling of familiarity. As in a déjà-vu, looking at my work you have this strong sense of familiarity, alternated with a feeling of strangeness and disorientation, which is often precisely given by the deconstruction of its subjects and objects. This halfway state brings those who experience it to have a special attention, a sort of lucidity towards what surrounds them.