Thief of Baghdad, 2010


Dutch-style canopy and painted acrylic cloth New Commission


Thief of Baghdad, 2009


Watercolours, slide projector Courtesy of the artist


Cornerhouse hosts the Thief of Baghdad Café, or more precisely it's potential. On the former site of a cigar shop and cinema refreshment store, Mario Rossi's Dutch canopy welcomes customers. In reality this is folly. The canopy is an allusion to a future history; conceptually the piece will be completed when someone realises the logical use for Rossi's sign. Thief of Baghdad is also the title of an earlier work that acts as a proposal and research for the resulting canopy. Fifty slides showing delicate watercolours of numerous café facades named after films, such as the infamous Apocalypse Now nightclub in Saigon, the African Queen restaurant in Hounslow or Cape Fear in North Carolina. The work continues Rossi's interest in our collective investment in film.


The End / Untitled, 1992 - Acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the artist


The End is a cycle of paintings depicting the closing shots of 100 movies - thus freezing the momentary flicker of a decaying frame of film in painting the illusion of the projected image, Rossi ignites a host of complex associative mental pictures and recollections of lives and events.


This series was first shown at Cornerhouse 10 years ago. In Rossi's large-scale painting, from Psycho, the moment of discovery of Marion's car is recharged through tropes of cinema space, surface and time and frozen forever by canvas, oil paint and the labour of the artist.




Mario Rossi was born 1958 and lives and works from his studio in Hastings. He is an artist whose work ranges across different media, with a particular emphasis on painting in its broadest terms both as a site of action and a space of encounter.


His concerns are with the enduring potential of the painted image, the interchanges between cinema and painting, and exploring and disrupting hegemonic structures of representation.


His exhibitions often engage subject and audience in complex and dynamic ways and much of his recent work has taken the form of interventions outside of the gallery including Host: Re-inventing the Museum, Hastings Museum (2001), Corridor of Mesmeric Transference, SEEDA Corporate HQ 2004, and Wonderland, Village Underground, London 2008.


He is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London, and is currently Lead Artist and consultant for public art commissions, such as Enviro 21, a joint European venture for the manufacturing of environmental sustainability technology in south east England. He is a regular contributor to the UAL research network Paint Club.


His work is held in many collections including Arts Council of England; British Council; Gallery Of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Nordstern Cologne, Saatchi Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London.