Cover image of the review

Raafat Ishak & Damiano Bertoli: Hebdomeros

29 Apr 2017
Sutton Gallery 21 May - 20 May 2017

The irony of Hebdomeros is that the exhibition teaches us more about the Italian 'metaphysical' painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) than it does about either of its two collaborating Melbourne based artists, Raafat Ishak and Damiano Bertoli.

The modest exhibition, which accompanies Ishak's solo exhibition 1977 (in Sutton Gallery's adjacent room), takes its title from de Chirico's short 'surrealist' novel Hebdomeros (1929 )—whose plotless story famously opens at the steps of a 'strange building' that 'looked like a German consulate in Melbourne.' The exhibition comprises just nine small (42 x 30 cm) works that draw on the artists' mutual interest in de Chirico, which are presented as three sets of three (like three triptychs). Each 'triptych' in turn consists, from left to right, of one pencil drawing by Bertoli, one printed work by Ishak and one collaborative work produced by overlaying a work of each artist.

Raafat Ishak & Damiano Bertoli, Hebdomeros, installation view. Courtesy the artists and Sutton Gallery.

This is not the first time Bertoli and Ishak have collaborated. They previously produced an 'Italo-Egyptoid' (the artist's respective backgrounds) themed series drawing on Silvio Berlusconi's liaison with sex worker Ruby Rubacuori as well as North African 'clandestini' selling fake designer goods on Italian streets (the works also appropriating motifs and figures from de Chirico's work).

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.