“Unlikely, but not impossible.” This is how Swiss-born Italian artist Giuseppe Colarusso characterizes the items in his surreal photo manipulations of everyday objects. Titled Improbabilita, the series includes an orange equipped with a faucet nozzle, nuts and bolts served as if a meal on a ceramic plate, and a pair of all-white dice whose spots seem to have escaped and lie scattered on the floor around them. Kitchen and bathroom appliances, in their boring familiarity, are subtly skewed into bizarre, useless artifacts.
The images trigger a what’s-wrong-with-this-picture second look, and the effect is wonderfully disorienting and wryly funny. “With these images I try to smile and think,” says the artist. They make you question the functionality and design of objects that usually blend into the background of our visual worlds.
The series shows how modern photo editing can heighten the realist elements of surrealist art. “Improbabilita” is reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s dripping clocks or Rene Magritte’s massive egg in a birdcage, and Colarusso pays more direct homage to these surrealist influences in another photo series, “Tributes.” These include photographic renditions of Magritte’s “The Pleasure Principle,” an image of a man with an orb of light for a head, and M.C. Escher’s “Teneken,” featuring a man’s drawing hands emerging from a sheet of paper.