Serena Vestrucci was born in Milan in 1986 where she lives and works. Imbued with a subtle irony towards contemporaneity, her works probe the obviousness of small things, giving voice to what is often hidden, forgotten, or sidelined. Through a playful, yet direct and provocative language, the artist elevates ambiguity to a founding element for a more accurate understanding of reality. She has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions at numerous Italian institutions including: Galleria Renata Fabbri, Milano; Galleria FuoriCampo, Siena; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Verona; Museo Archeologico Salinas, Palermo; Marsèlleria Permanent Exhibition, Milano; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genova.
Her work has been featured in group exhibitions: Palazzo Merulana, Roma; Palazzo Grillo, Genova; Museo MAXXI, Roma; Fondazione Stefan Gierowski, Varsavia; Istituto Italiano di Cultura, New York; Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Londra; Palazzo Reale, Milano; Blitz, Valletta, Malta; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milano; Fondazione Made in Cloister, Napoli; Fondazione Imago Mundi, Treviso; Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Roma; Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venezia; FRISE Künstlerhaus, Amburgo; Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno; Stedelijk Museum, ‘S–Hertogenbosch. In 2017 she won the 18th edition of Premio Cairo, and she was selected by the City of Milan to create a permanent work in the frame of the public art commission ArtLine Milano.
SNOWMEN ARE LIKE CLOUDS, LIKE WAVES: WE KNOW THEIR SHAPE, BUT EACH ONE IS DIFFERENT, THEY NEVER REPEAT THEMSELVES. THEY ARE UNIQUE AND AT THE SAME TIME UNIVERSAL
In psychoanalysis, “disturbing” is everything that appears to be foreign and unfamiliar to the subject, generating anxiety and terror. But a perturbation – that is, change exerted on a condition of stillness, normality, order – does not always necessarily have harmful or dangerous consequences.
Serena Vestrucci’s Abbronzatissimi Pallidissimi (Very Tanned Very Pale) project meets the daily life of Cetara, its traditions and inhabitants, by triggering an “atmospheric perturbation” that brings snow to the sea.
The snowmen that feature in the work come from afar, they are foreign to the context. Their presence invites us to reflect on the value of welcome and hospitality towards extraneous, different forms, on the passage of time and the sense of the ephemeral: a work that lasts a summer, like the tourism that floods the village and then evaporates.
Abbronzatissimi are three snowmen made of sea salt, glittering in the sunshine of Piazza Grotta. The salt recalls the process of making the salted anchovy sauce. Anchovies are the products for which Cetara is famous worldwide: after having been caught and cleaned, they are left under salt for years. The title Abbronzatissimi ironically alludes to the whiteness of the sculptures and the impossibility for the snow to tan, as this would also cause it to melt and meet its end.
Pallidissimi comprises five portraits of snowmen distributed amongst the shops of Cetara. Their faces are painted with the juice from the lemons that punctuate the Amalfi Coast and frame the town. Absorbed by the paper, the juice disappears, leaving the faces so light as to be invisible. The drawings could be revealed by holding a flame near the back of the sheets. In this way the traces of juice would reappear. But in the cycle of works in the exhibition, this step is not revealed: nothing remains of their pallor but the stone mouths, pine cone eyes and carrot noses.
01. Serena Vestrucci, Abbronzatissimi, 2023. Three sculptures in salt, resin and natural materials, three months, 170 x 70 x 50 cm; 130 x 60 x 50 cm; 150 x 90 x 80 cm.
Piazza Grotta, Cetara
02. Serena Vestrucci, Pallidissimo, 2023. Lemon juice and collage on paper, one month, 45 x 35 cm.
Ristorante La Cianciola, Piazza Cantone, 13, Cetara
03. Serena Vestrucci, Pallidissimo, 2023. Lemon juice and collage on paper, one month, 45 x 35 cm.
Bar Miramare, Corso Garibaldi, 49, Cetara
04. Serena Vestrucci, Pallidissimo, 2023. Lemon juice and collage on paper, one month, 45 x 35 cm.
Ristorante Acquapazza Cetara, Corso Garibaldi, 36, Cetara
05. Serena Vestrucci, Pallidissimo, 2023. Lemon juice and collage on paper, one month, 45 x 35 cm.
Macelleria Mammato, Corso Garibaldi, 1, Cetara
06. Serena Vestrucci, Pallidissimo, 2023. Lemon juice and collage on paper, one month 45 x 35 cm.
Frutta & Verdura, Corso Federici, 11, Cetara
THE ARTIST TRIGGERS AN ‘ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCE’ THAT BRINGS SNOW TO THE SEASIDE
Cetara is a seaside village of less than 2,000 inhabitants surrounded by mountains, giving it a characteristic amphitheatre-like configuration. The village attracts visitors in search of art, nature and culinary excellence, and it is famous for its powerful bonds with the sea. Fishing is still performed using the ‘cianciolo’ technique (the cianciolo is a net suspended between cork floats and lead weights), utilising the famous lampare (lamps used to attract fish), a practice which gives rise to Cetara's principal product, anchovies and their processed specialities. In fact, colatura di alici (a liquid derived from the fermentation of anchovies) is protected by the D.O.P. (P.D.O., protected designation of origin) quality mark. One of the oldest traditions is ‘La Notte delle Lampare’ (The Night of the Lamps), a re-enactment of fishing trips with lamps fitted on boats to attract fish.
Along the coast stands the 14th-century Angevin-era tower Torre Vicereale, which has become a symbol and landmark for the town. Rebuilt on several occasions, in 2011 it was reopened to the public. It houses the Museo Civico (Civic Museum) with permanent exhibitions of work by local artists, the so-called ‘costaioli’ (coastal landscape painters), as well as the Museo Vivo (Living Museum) by the Cetara artist Ugo Marano, and the Museo Cantina della pesca e della Colatura di alici (Museum of Fishing Cellars and Anchovy Sauce).