solo show at Braverman Gallery (2022)
Curated by Adi Gura
Braverman Gallery, 33 Eilat St, Tel Aviv
September 17 - October 22, 2022
Elena Ceretti Stein's first solo exhibition at Braverman Gallery, Vivarium, is the outcome of two years of research. The room is transformed into a chamber of collected wonders and secrets, where objects,
paintings, mosaics and organic life are spread around to create a new ecosystem in which past and present, culture and nature, life and death intertwine.
The exhibition combines into one installation 14 squared oil paintings, a marble mosaic, two brass sculptures, four painted tambourines, a ceramic torso with wildflowers, a ceramic head of Venus in water, a wall fresco and a double-sided oil painting on wood with a mirror.
The space almost feels abandoned, or newly rediscovered, as if someone has accumulated treasures in it for a long time, and then left them there, maybe as a code to be deciphered. It embodies symbols and rituals waiting to unveil a secret.
In her practice, Ceretti Stein investigates the relationship between the seen and the unseen, the deep thread that connects scientific and magical thinking. Borrowing from classical artistic tradition, she is rethinking the way in which visual culture embeds secrets, information, and narratives, revealing ideas through ancient methodologies. She is fascinated by how the DNA of history and iconography can be repurposed to discuss a holistic view of Earth that connects all living things, including more-than-human perspectives. Elena strives to achieve an interdisciplinary body of work that is transformative: her work somehow merges the very objective and the intimately subjective, turning objects, myths and rituals into living things that are equally corporeal and conceptual.
Italian history of art is full of enigmas and mystery. Some secret fraternal organizations used to encode their symbols diligently to avoid censorship from the state and religious institutions alike. From North to South, cathedrals, crypts and sacred sites are often the chest of deeper messages of an alchemical symbolism. This language goes beyond religion, into the exploration of nature and truth, common to all humanity across all continents: mysticism is universal.
Likewise, Vivarium (“a place of life” in Latin) hides signs that connect personal and biographical memories to collective imaginaries, especially related to the history of art and to Italian culture. In this context, Ceretti Stein acts as an alchemist by layering and merging different memories and materials inan attempt to translate the inaccessible into the accessible - and vice versa.