ARP 2015 – RUANN COLEMAN Found: Rome

A project by RUANN COLEMAN selected for the Artistic Residency in Rome, Italy, May 2- June 12 2015.
This is part of the second edition Italo-South African artist’s residency exchange programme, facilitated by the Centro Luigi Di Sarro, Rome, Italy, in collaboration also this year with the SMAC Art Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa. Ruann Coleman is in Rome from May to June. During his residency Coleman living and working on a specific project in Rome for a period of 30 days, after which , he will present a solo exhibition at Centro Luigi Di Sarro. The show will run till june 12.

Discovery, creation, combination, chance and risk are the principles behind Ruann Coleman’s

sculptural experiments. The artist forms part of the so-called ‘post-political’ generation of South

African artists who rejected their predecessor’s fixation on intractable political and sociopolitical

questions. Instead of practising an earnest, issue-driven art, Coleman expresses

himself in a purely formal language, inflected with a light-hearted irreverence, irony and wit.

Most of Coleman’s sculpture consists of ordinary objects, readily found in urban contexts, but

his time in Rome has led to a more nuanced aesthetic. Inspired by his explorations of the “holy

city”, Coleman produced twelve works (in reference to the twelve apostles) whilst engaging

with the spiritual aspect of his art-making process – the metaphorical and physical habit of

searching for objects, almost ritually, and putting together pieces that were “destined” to be in


The gilt and opulence of Rome is reflected in the appearance of gilded frames and objects that

make up this new body of work. Halos topping some of the pieces also speak towards a

religious reference, as do many of the works’ titles. His installation Dove (2015), recreates the

divine feeling of domed cathedrals, where religious icons are suspended above. Coleman’s

practice has always dealt with the aesthetic potential of discarded objects, however in Found:

Rome the artist elevates the detritus found on Rome’s streets, to create a body of work

dedicated to the spiritual as well as the aesthetic.

“My work consists of thrown-away rods, poles, pipes and girders. I am struck by their beauty

at first glance, but as these objects exist in such overcrowded visual environments they just

subside into an indiscriminate mass of stuff where they remain unseen. By plucking an object

out of this visual chaos and placing it in the gallery, I remove it from the real world, and isolate

it in the uncluttered space of the white cube. There, people can see it for the very first time,

see it as it really is, and that experience often transforms their vision of the ordinary into the

extraordinary”. (Ruann Coleman)


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