The Portrait Room. Portrait#10: Sergio Verastegui

Sergio Versategui

Sergio Verastegui collects ruins in shoe boxes,
loves Kafka, Badiou and Barthes
and meets me in a bamboo garden.

Sergio Verastegui was born in 1981 in Lima, Peru. From 2002 to 2004 he studied at Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro, which first gave him the possibility to make experience of a vivid artistic scene. Successively at Villa Arson in Nice, he was given recognition by Prix Show-Room Art-O-Rama 2013, Marseille and Prix Jeune Création SYMEV 2013, Paris, where he is currently working and living. He was recently invited to participate to Flatland, un plateau de sculptures at MAMCO in Geneva, with a subtext of works inserted among those of the museum’s collection. He also showed at MeetFactory in Prague, La Friche Belle de Mai in Marseille, Le Centquatre in Paris and La Marbrerie, Montreuil, where he gained his first curatorial experience. This occasion confirmed Verastegui’s undoubted interest for the exhibition space: in fact, he collaborated with the French collective Hold Up to soberly take up the ancient marble factory with subtle and discreet installations, freeing the venue from heavy interventions.
Sergio often uses to stimulate the attention by making the observer focus on details: he evokes and suggests, never shouts and imposes, never directly says. By displaying elements, fragments of previous existing realities, Sergio Verastegui composes new melodies as narrative expedients. The artist disseminates traces on the floor, suggests a path, leaves some crumbs and accompanies us in a travel through personal and collective memory. The aesthetic of poor ephemeral materials involves in a complex reactivation and invites to a fleeting dance made up of trophies and relics. Involuntary sculptures.
There is a certain proactive look to the crisis of attention and concentration in Verastegui’s works: they point out what we are missing and look from the floor up towards our noses, proposing us to get on our knees and observe closer. Inspired by his favourite writers – such as Barthes, Kafka, Borges, Derrida– Sergio writes with fragments, contemplates methamorphosis and makes visible life’s vulnerability. In a rich and precious recital of remains, nostalgia merges with curiosity. Through some hidden sparks, Verastegui engages time and memory in a pleasant effort of connections between realities. Thanks to several skin-like layers, he defines history and histories: accumulation of forms and meanings are made visible in a rigorous visual classifications. The evolution of the single fragment leads to an infinite vortex of possibilities: each element carries a potential that can be re-enacted according to multiple interpretations, and also constitute a new imagery.
His storage of forgotten pieces, the floor of his workshop and that of the exhibition space: these are the places where Sergio’s artworks silently assemble and grow up, in a process of fortuitous discovery. His arrangement is just one among the possible ones, and it is not meant to discriminate other possible reactivations. Constantly decontextualised and recontextualized, his works always keep connected to their original context: their function or meaning are never mystified, always guaranteed.
Reducted to its essence, the fragment is naked. Eventually, it discorsively converses with its neighbours in a shared silenced evolution. Organically alive, humble footprints lie on the floor, like marks in the memory. Up to us to make sense of them, to engage in a dialogue that can bring back to their, our past. Or future, who knows?


La tension narrative et psychologique dans un espace: la question de la présence réelle et le rapport à la réalité. La tension entre ce qui est là et ce qui n’est pas là mais qui a cependant une forme de présence en tant qu’image mentale.* 

Useful links for the reader:

-* Sergio Verastegui’s website;
-Sergio Verastegui’s page for Prix Jeune Creation;
-Article by Emmanuel Lambion for ART-O-RAMA Marseille 2014


May 1st, 2014, a rainy Thursday morning at Sergio’s studio in Malakoff, Paris.

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by Michela Alessandrini
in The Portrait Room

Wed Development by Digital Art Factory