Roberto Kusterle (1948)


Roberto Kusterlewas born in Gorizia in 1948, where he still lives and works. Active since the seventies in the field of visual arts, he devoted himself to painting and installations until the encounter with photography, which he chose as the ideal tool for his expressive research. His first shots were exhibited at the Nadia Bassanese Art Studio in Trieste in 1988. The experiments of the following years bring to light the essential themes of his poetics: the continuity between the human, animal and vegetable world, the role of mediator of the body, the negation of the gaze, the constant exercise of irony, ambiguity and disorientation to give shape to an idea and stimulate the observer to question himself. The use of photography is aimed at keeping alive the tension between fiction and reality, the artist's approach to the instrument is very personal, in fact, the shot represents only the last action of a much more complex and articulated creative path. During the 1990s, Kusterle combined the search for a formal balance of the image with the use of photosensitive emulsions, resins, glass and natural elements to create installations and real three-dimensional photographic objects.

In 2003, at the Regional Gallery of Contemporary Art "Luigi Spazzapan" in Gradisca d'Isonzo, he presented the cycle Rites of the Body, in which the link between man and the animal world is celebrated through the loan and mimetic exchange of eyes, heads, hair. The bodies are covered with clay, imprints, reproducing the design of a cloak or alphanumeric characters, opening to a linguistic dimension familiar and at the same time indecipherable. The next work is Avα Χρóvoς (Anakronos), realized between 2004 and 2006, in which the range of action of his subjects extends, revealing the worlds from which they come or that they shape, each according to its own logic. Meadows, ponds, dry riverbeds of the Gorizia landscape become phantasmagorical and surreal theatres. Kusterle begins to conceive and direct experimental short films in collaboration with the film-maker Ferruccio Goia. These are independent projects, which add temporal and procedural depth to the themes and atmospheres explored in photography (Homage St. Elizabeti Turingijski, Looking in the Eyes, Dancing Water 2008 and Stabat Mater, 2009), which question the relationship between human work and industrial landscape (The Last Night, 2009) or which, as in the documentary Domenica dei fiori (2008), identify in reality itself rituals, expectations, codes. In 2009 he exhibited for the first time in the United States, presenting the series Mutazione silente (Silent Mutation) at the Wood Lattuada in New York, again exhibited in 2011 at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery in Omaha (United States) on the occasion of a solo exhibition. It is a return to studio photography, to an intimate and intimate atmosphere that makes possible the silent dialogue between female figures and plant elements, metaphysical portraits interspersed with the appearance of towering flowers, in turn composed of other flowers, fruits and leaves. The complex work of conceiving, researching and creating real stage costumes and photographic sets that lies behind each of Kusterle's works receives a new impulse with the adoption of digital graphic processing techniques. The first example of this is the Mutabiles Nymphae series presented at the Mestna Galerija in Nova Gorica (Slovenia) in 2010, in which the marine world elegantly encircles the clothes and bodies of timeless nymphs.

With a new change of perspective, Kusterle then gave shape to the cycle Segni di pietra (2011), first exhibited in Spilimbergo and then in the Gallerie Antonio Nardone in Brussels in 2013. To the usual use of clays to mark the relationship of the human body with the earth, he adds the reproduction of cracks and fractures on the skin, the plastic fusion of the characters with the rocky element to create new archaeological finds. The research continues also in the series La struttura delle apparenze (2012), in which the human figure is exposed, left apparently alone: no animal or vegetable element completes it, the same stone is back as a pedestal. The poses far from any classicism give an absolute and mysterious power to the body, underlined by its marble appearance. In the works of I Segni della metembiosi (2012-2013) a dreamlike and grotesque vitality returns. The photograph reveals the scaffolding and the grafts that keep the protagonists in balance in the metamorphic and symbiotic relationship between man, plant and animal world according to the formula coined by Giuseppe O. Longo. The Abysses and Low Tides series is Kusterle's most recent work, with which he gives us bodies rich in reflections, mineral concretions, algae and hugs, in harmony with the long stay underwater. The shot invites us to immerse ourselves in the dream to continue beyond the edges of the image, the bodies emerge transformed, guarded, nourished by the sea, as if returning from a long journey.

The heretical body, or rather the disturbing and wonderful photos of the artist Roberto Kusterle from Gorizia become videos, by Walter Criscuoli and Ferruccio Goia were presented on Saturday 8 August at 6 pm at the Harry Bertoya gallery in Pordenone respectively Roberto Kusterle. Myths of the Earth" and "Signs of Metembiosis. Nature and man in Kusterle's imagination." The events complete the very successful retrospective, the anthological exhibition which attracted over five thousand visitors to the city of Noncello and which closes on Sunday 9 August. Below, a frame of the videos.