Wasted Dreams is the debut UK solo exhibition of Italian, London based artist Guendalina Cerruti at PUBLIC Gallery. Through an expansive installation that combines assemblage-based sculpture, LED art, mixed media wall and floor-based works, Cerruti explores the ‘Wasted Dreams’ relationship between life, dreams and contemporaneity.
The spectator is transported into a bizarre world made up of glittered cardboard dogs, a bouquet of neon lights, an enormous book filled with collages, glitters, drawings. Immediately, we are catapulted into the highly personal, mental universe of the artist. Influenced by domestic spaces, home decor, architecture and the urban landscape, Cerruti’s exhibition becomes a cathartic trip down memory lane, one that can be critical to meditate, change or maybe simply forget all of our Wasted Dreams.
Through her art Cerruti analyses and processes the world around her — both the interior space of emotions, thoughts, memories, and the exterior world of popular culture and society. Reflecting upon the intersection of these two realms, the artist transforms the gallery into a domestic interior blending London’s urban landscape with childhood bedrooms. There is a sense of melancholia that lingers through the space, as if all of these objects represented something past, gone, forgotten. The colours that pervade Cerruti’s works are pop, vibrant, covered in glitters, and yet they don’t convey pure joy. There is, rather, a sense of loss, already anticipated by the title of the exhibition, ‘Wasted Dreams’. The artist is, indeed, ruminating on the notion of youthful aspirations — hopes that we had for our lives which have been forbidden, changed, lost.
Within this nostalgic setting, Cerruti’s customised furniture forms a materialistic micro-universe which criticises our capitalist society, ever-present in shaping our dreams and desires. Inspired by the streets of central London where one is constantly exposed to consumerist aspirations, Cerruti reuses a chest of drawers only to mutate it into a regency style town house complete with parking space for luxury cars. Meanwhile, a rocking chair, symbol of youth, innocence, game, is here mimicking the eccentric colours and surfaces of sport cars.
Cerruti uses different decorating techniques to achieve a variety of textures within each piece. These contrasts evoke a range of visceral emotions and conceptual contexts, which the artist uses to confuse our believes. In contrast to the ostentatious display of monetary success, so often equated with the shiny surfaces of expensive sports cars or the bright marble-esque painted townhouses, Cerruti presents us with dusty, forgotten toys. Indeed, it seems that glossy surfaces are just fake reminders of a fabricated, bygone culture. The glitters in Cerruti’s sculptures are not evocative of a sparkly era but rather of the piling up of consumed dreams. A wooden cradle transforms into a London underground train coated in a layer of fake dirt and dust, representing a more grounded setting of self-reflection––a collective resting place for the wasted dreams of its daily commuters.
In the center of the space, a monumental decoupage book evoking a teenage diary of inspirations and defunct ideals stands tall. Entitled Wasted Dreams, this work exemplifies the combination of youthful aspirations informed by both personal whims and society at large present throughout the exhibition. Tapping into the aesthetics, trends and lifestyle of new generations in which social media shapes so much of one’s goals and aspirations, the bright colourful pages full of glitter and confetti are layered with cut out images, from Justin Bieber to the sunset skyline of Los Angeles, symbolising the prevalent force of celebrity influencer culture in shaping our desires.
Part fictional, part autobiographical Cerruti’s installation brings together collections of narratives, micro-universes dense with sentiment, sarcasm and candour. She recreates a sort of playground, both dreamy and confusing, in which nothing is quite as it seems, where juvenile dreams mix up with the murkiness of reality revealing how the shiny patina of modernity actually serves to cover up grimy aspirations.
Guendalina Cerruti (b. 1992, Milan, Italy) lives and works in London, UK. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, UK and BA from the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, Italy. Solo exhibitions include Love you, Bye, Studiolo, Milan, Italy (2018) and Guendalina, Studiolo, Milan, Italy (2015). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Old Friends, New Friends, Collective Ending HQ, London, UK (2020); Vivace, Balcony Gallery, Lisbon (2019); Playful Aggressions, Greengrassi, London, UK (2019); Il disegno politico Italiano, A Plus A, Venice, Italy (2018); That’s IT, MAMO, Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, Italy (2018).