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Bertozzi & Casoni - Il capitale umano. Tra consolazioni e desolazioni

Curated by Franco Bertoni, an architect, art critic and expert in 20th Century ceramics, the exhibition is part of the programme of the festivalfilosofia taking place in Modena from 16 to 18 September 2016. The theme of the exhibition is “competition” and its centrepiece is a sculptural installation entitled “Polar Bear, 2016”. This takes the form of a gigantic ceramic polar bear, which the artists, Giampaolo Bertozzi and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni, have depicted imprisoned in a cage and at risk of extinction due to geological and climate change caused by invasive human activity.

Around this symbol of evolutionary struggle, other works portray subjects such as bins overflowing with trash and snails, piles of dirty dishes, and pipework interspersed with everyday objects and captions. These illustrate the exchange between composition and decomposition and death and regeneration that pervades the existence of individuals and societies, like a pendulum perpetually swinging between consolation and desolation. They represent the detritus that each of us leaves behind, and the small-scale local extinctions that agitate the material world even in this age of abundance.

One especially significant exhibit in relation to the gallery’s mission and identity is a textile work based on a drawing by Giampaolo Bertozzi and hand-made by craftspeople commissioned by Antonio Verolino, who has inherited a passion for fine carpets and tapestries from his father Raffaele Verolino, the undisputed authority on this discipline in Italy and beyond. The expertise acquired over the years by Antonio Verolino has prompted him to forge working partnerships with established artists of the calibre of Enzo Cucchi, David Tremlett, Luigi Ontani and Joe Tilson, who have succeeded in expressing their artistic vision through this ancient decorative medium, to create textiles that amount to fully fledged works of art.

The new textile work by Bertozzi & Casoni depicts a honeycomb masking the form of a skull. Made of entirely hand-knotted silk, it has a uniquely living appearance because it changes colour with the changing light. The work is set in a ceramic frame, also in the form of a honeycomb, with over a thousand ceramic flowers sprouting from it.

Masters of ceramic art, Bertozzi & Casoni have aroused the interest of critics and major national and international art galleries since the 1990s. In 2004, they were invited to exhibit works at Tate Liverpool and the 14th Quadriennale in Rome. They then staged personal exhibitions at Cà Pesaro (the International Gallery of Modern Art) in Venice in 2007, and Castello Sforzesco in Milan and the International Ceramic Museum in Faenza in 2008. Their works went on display in the Italy pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009, and at All Visual Arts in London, the Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York and the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan in 2010. In 2011, they put on exhibitions at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Ajaccio and the Italy pavilion of the Venice Biennale. In 2013, personal exhibitions of their work were held at the Museum Beelden aan Zee in The Hague, the Beck & Eggeling Gallery in Düsseldorf and Palazzo Te in Mantua.

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