Federico Cortese was born in 1971 in Turin, Italy, where he still is living and working as an independent artist and as an architect, collaborating with several design offices. The main interest for Cortese’s artistic research is the study of language.
“Every language is created with the purpose of communicating information. But each language also has formal rules stemming from the purpose for which it is used. Is it possible to isolate from one language only its formal rules, as if they were a decoration? And what happens if I apply that structure to another language? How its meaning will change? What will remain of the original meaning of the language?”
In his drawings, Cortese applies this process of work. “The subjects of my study are the cartographic representation, the figures in the manuals of medicine, the sheets of the herbals with their rules for the classification of the plants, the ancient manuals that collect all the known form of real and imaginary animals, the facial expressions and physiognomy, the pornography, the structure of flags, and so on. All these are languages owning their own lexicon; my trial is to isolate and reinvent that lexicon.”
Federico Cortese’s tecnique
His cartography works are fragment of cities, immaginary or real ones. They all have in common brillant colours drawn close with great mastery. The geometric pattern of houses and blocks is alternated with rivers which with their light blue surfaces blends all the composition. It’s also intresting how simple geometric forms dialog such as net of rectangular shapes and the circular squares.
When we consider a road map or a map of the territory we note that they contain different information that are represented by different means, according to the purpose for which they were created: each time we find colors, symbols and words that recall a precise meaning. What happens if we take these techniques of representation, these symbols, and take off the scope for which they were created and mingle them with each other? Will it be for the reader a text in a foreign language, that is meaningless, or through the world of associations and references that each of us possesses, will generate a new language?