Giorgio Ermes Celin: Il Lento Addormentarsi Del Desiderio

Giorgio Ermes Celin

Artwork’s Title: Il lento addormentarsi del desiderio

Materials Used: Oil and oil stick on canvas 

Studio Based: Barcelona 

Giorgio Ermes Celin, Il lento addormentarsi del desiderio, 95 x 145 cm, oil and oil stick on canvas, 2020

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

Generally, I work on a series of paintings. I like to explore a specific concept throughout the series. For example, The title painting is from the series “Everything’s gonna hurt you baby” {named after a song from the band “Cigarettes after sex”} in which I used the unmade beds as a theater stage to represent intimate dynamics between two or more characters.  To prepare, I usually do an ink drawing. Of interest to me is how I want to use the brush on the canvas, the shape of a specific line, if I need to use a flat brush or a round one, if I want to go with wet paint or if I want to use a dry, thick line. If I want to try a different color scheme, I may draw on an ipad Because I can switch colors in no time. 

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)

“Sprezzatura,” an Italian word from Baldassare Castiglioni that he, in his 1528 “The Book of Courtiers” describes as, “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” 

“Simplicity,” which is difficult to achieve in painting.

“Sentimental,” a word that scares most contemporary artists (and curators).

Would you use another three different words to describe the ‘Il lento addormentarsi del desiderio painting?

Silence, fear, sex.

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting? 

I love to portray post-coital moments. Those are very intimate and potentially very scary moments because of their vulnerability. As sexual desire is a great force, it can be creative and destructive. Schopenhauer spoke about the relationship between pain and boredom: the pain of desire that subsequently translates to  boredom once that desire is fulfilled. In other words, when the sexual desire is gone, and you lay there, empty (physically and metaphorically), next to another body, breathing, thinking and feeling, it can be very overwhelming.  The title can be translated to “slowly the desire is falling asleep,” like a beast, an animal that needed to be fed. And then, the question: Who are these two? Are they lovers falling asleep, strangers who met for a quickie, are they married and bored? Is it me asking myself if I should stay and hug that unknown body or just get up and leave?

What colour is used the most in this painting? 

Most of the canvas is painted with yellow ochre. 

What would be the best way to exhibit your work? 

With silence.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from? 

I would say Egon Schiele because each one of his drawings is a masterpiece, Aya Takano because she mixes manga and painting, two things that I love and Nicole Eisenmann because when I saw “Another Green World” I thought that I wanted to paint something that fuckin beautiful. 

How do you know when this painting was finished? 

I didn’t know. I just stopped. Sometimes I stop too early and sometimes too late. Knowing when to stop is very important for me. I don’t want to overdo it, or paint 300 layers of paint or glazing for weeks. It feels phony: my painting is more gestural, aiming toward the Japanese writing. 

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

I live in Barcelona. I choose to stop there after a whole year of traveling. I was painting in a room in my apartment and it was very messy. But last week, I moved back to Naples for a couple of months and I’m working in a beautiful old white building on top of a hill. I love to come back here, to the south of Italy. It’s where I fell in love with painting for the first time { I was obsessed with Neapolitan baroque paintings } and has a special place in my heart. I love to move around. I can’t help it. It’s part of my process. My Colombian ass running around schlepping all my canvases, brushes and paints. 

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting?

I hope they can see themselves inside the figures. I view my paintings as a visual conversation. It is a solo conversation that one should have within himself; the characters on the canvas are just actors and I’ve assigned them a role. 

What does your mum think about your art?

Omg, let me ask her!  She said she loves them, hahaha. Its a funny question, but it triggers something very deep inside of me: I felt excluded all my life, for many reasons. I do not want to replicate a model that hurt me, so it’s very important for me to make work that everyone can enjoy. On different levels. I always think about Botticelli’s Venus: you can dive deep into philosophical conversation about that painting : Neoplatonism, the renaissance society, Greek mythology and so on…Or you can simply enjoy the colors, the shape, and the overall beauty within it.

Which exhibition did you visit last? 

I saw William Kentridge In Barcelona, At the CCCB and it was amazing. I’m a huge fan. 

Which are your plans for the near future?

I will start 2021 with a show at “Eve Liebe Gallery” titled “Pájaros del Atlántico” in which I explore themes related to the latinx diaspora; also in February I will start my collaboration with “Annarumma Gallery” in Naples. I also have plans to spend more time in NY City. There are lot of people there whom I admire in the New York and Los Angeles area. Generally, the American mystique has been very important for me: I grew up thinking that the USA was some kind of magic, El Dorado, where everything could happen. Of course it’s not like that, but everyone has to confront their dreams, angels and demons. So I hope to bring home inspiration for another great series of paintings.

Additional Paintings 

Giorgio Ermes Celin, The tears of the desert snake, 85 x 110 cm, oil and oil stick on canvas, 2020
Giorgio Ermes Celin, Sigue tu Feliz, 50 x 75 cm, oil and oil stick on canvas, 2020
Giorgio Ermes Celin, The cruel season of Aquarius, 70 x 100 cm , oil on canvas, 2020


All images are courtesy of the artist

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