Artist Spotlight: Rä di Martino

Artist Spotlight: Rä di Martino

Born: Rome, Italy, 1975.

Current exhibition: ‘Poor Poor Jerry,’ Copperfield Gallery, London, 22 March – 6 May 2018.

Rä di Martino’s ‘Poor Poor Jerry,’ at Copperfield Gallery, London, ends on 6 May. It is the artist’s second solo show with the gallery and it sees her continue her exploration of the impact of cinematography on contemporary society.

Di Martino’s experimentation with the language of film, and the genre of animation in particular, aims to destabilise the viewers’ understanding of the medium. Her works homogenise the boundaries between fiction and reality, whereby both states of existence are represented with exaggerated falsity. This produces absurd, uncanny narratives, which percolate throughout di Martino’s films. This makes her work increasingly unnerving.

Popular visual entertainment has become synonymous with modern culture.

The impressionability and ubiquity of mass-circulated imagery means that their influence can permeate society, becoming ingrained within a collective memory. By appropriating the aesthetics of iconic symbols of animated cinematography, di Martino’s ‘Poor Poor Jerry’ compels the viewer to recollect from personal experience – to engage with their own distant memories, thus infusing the artwork with feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality.

Poor Poor Jerry by Rä di Martino. Installation view at Marsèlleria, Milano. Photo by Sara Scanderebech. Courtesy of the artist and Copperfield, London

As the exhibition’s curator, Davide Giannella, remarks, ‘Over time, music, cinema and television has built a sharable and common imaginary, intertwining on many levels, and forming a free sentimental encyclopedia not based on an alphabetic or gender order. A set of signs apt to determine ages, places and experiences, both on a collective and personal level… Poor Poor Jerry investigates our collective awareness, overlapping the deeds of an icon of an American animated series and desert landscapes of Lanzarote with pop cinema soundtracks and dialogues’.

Di Martino’s background

The artist’s background in theatre, combined with her fascination for film, emerges not only in her videos but in her photographic and installation work too. Di Martino is not averse to using actors, sets and props to expand the scope of her work. This allows her to approach subjects as broad as human relationships, cinematographic conventions and the theatre of war.

Di Martino has recently been awarded the 2018 PREMIO ACACIA Awards. The prestigious association annually awards the Acacia Prize to young, established Italian artists within the international art scene, as a recognition of the high calibre of their work.


Rä di Martino is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art and holds an MA from the Slade School of Art. Her recent solo exhibitions include: The Day He Swims Thru Marrakech, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan (2017); Rä di Martino, Marselleria, Milan (2017); Certo e ch-io nacqui, Istituto Nazionale della Grafica, Rome (2015); and, On Making a Circle to Swim Under Water, Collicaligreggi Gallery, Catania (2015).

Author: George Greenhill

Cover image: Poor Poor Jerry, 2017 by Rä di Martino. HD video, 7 minutes. Image courtesy the artist and gallery.