For Frieze Focus, ChertLüdde proposed a presentation featuring Sol Calero, Patrizio Di Massimo and Petrit Halilaj.

As artists of the same generation, Calero, Di Massimo and Halilaj individually examine their ties to their native histories. Facing questions of identity, collective memory and forgotten beliefs, the three artists bring to attention the significance of doing so in shaping the future.

Sol Calero (b. 1982, Caracas, Venezuela) creates immersive installations that bring her pictorial explorations to a spatio-contextual level. With painting at the core of her practice, her investigation looks back to non-canonical, popular art forms excluded from western narratives. The booth displayed works from her 2019’s exhibition at ChertLüdde, Archivos Olvidados, dedicated to her grandmother Luisa Hernández. 

The singular aesthetic of Patrizio Di Massimo (b. 1983, Jesi, Italy) comes from his interest in Italian history, which is fraught with power struggles, fascism and colonialism. His gravitation towards Baroque tones and dramatic portraiture evokes a pre-Modernist era of Renaissance ideals and spirit. The painting on display, August 15th in the studio (after Hippolyte Flandrin), 2019 is a direct reference to Study (Young Male Nude Seated beside the Sea), by Hippolyte Flandrin, created in 1835/6. The subject in the original work is a man separated from time and place, an enigmatic figure that was later adopted in the 20th century as an icon of beauty, and perhaps loss and desire (i.e. Wilhelm von Gloeden “Cain, Taormine, Sicile”). Di Massimo’s appropriation of the image places it in parallel with his ongoing series of self-portraits and investigation of contemporary masculinity.

Petrit Halilaj (b. 1986, Runik, Kosovo) showed works from his Abetare series, a conglomerate of metal sculptures of various size and scale, which reproduce children’s drawings from an elementary school in Runik, Kosovo, the same school the artist attended as a child. Initiated in 2015, this ongoing series has already been exhibited internationally, gaining major exposure from exhibitions at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Mario Merz Foundation, Turin.

Photos by Andrea Rossetti