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Luca Bertolo

Se non qui dove (If not Here, Where?)

10.06  -  02.07.2017
Opening: Opening Saturday 10 June 2017,  5:30 pm

Gavoi, Former Barracks

Part of the Prelude to the "Isola delle Storie" Book Festival


Up to 2 July 2017

At the time of the 14th edition of the Isola delle Storie Book Festival in Gavoi, Sardinia, the MAN Museum is proud to present Luca Bertolo’s exhibition titled Se non qui dove (If not Here, Where?).

Following the projects by Alessandro Pessoli, Jennifer West and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, Luca Bertolo's is the fourth appointment in an annual series of one-man exhibitions that reflect on the many uses and possible actuality of painting, a medium that has always been debated, has come under constant discussion and undergone radical transformations. In recent years, it has regained significant spaces in research and visibility within the international art system.

Luca Bertolo's works are an attentive reflection on means of representation. His research moves from an elaborate speculative approach and, at the same time, reveals attention concerning pictorial materials and a specific interest in the dimension and language of the figurative. It is the coming together of two apparently distant worlds, which in the artist's vision find recurring points of contact.

The fulcrum of the Gavoi exhibition are the three paintings on easels that occupy the centre of the three exhibition rooms. Completed between 2014 and 2016, these paintings break the symbolic mechanism of classic representation, placing on the front what is normally on the back, which is to say the frame, the flap of the canvas fixed on the wood of the painting. Reminiscent of a precise tradition in painting that has its roots in the Italian Renaissance, the trompe-l’oeil genre and 17th-century Flemish painting of artists such as Gijsbrechts – the first to show the back of a painting - and naturally in the theoretical speculation of the historic avant-gardes, in a suspended space-time dimension Bertolo's works question the statute of a painting as an object and figurative device, and the multiple, but at the same time limited, functions of painting.

The itinerary develops in the three Signs, in the dual meaning of the word as both symbol and signal, presented in the fourth and last room of the exhibition. This is a series of works in which the linguistic codes of painting are superimposed on the communicative mechanisms of public places, and specifically in poster designing. A simple stick can transform the canvas into a new visual code, a "signal", whose definition would call for immediacy and clarity, while in this case what is offered to the eyes, a painted surface, on the contrary stimulates arbitration and contemplation. Reflecting on the difference between encoding and decoding, between the criteria of representation and communication, the artist reveals that between the immediacy of the sign and patient pictorial composition we can find stimulating middle ways full of expressive power. 

The exhibition closes with Preghiera esistenzialista (Existentialist Prayer)(2011), a simple sound track that reproduces passages from the well-known documentary High School by Frederick Wiseman (USA, 1968), in which the rhythm and alternation of voices between speaker and assembly, typical of prayer in the Catholic tradition, are used in the context of a lesson at school, thus upsetting the codes of communication into a dimension suspended between the scared and the profane.

Luca Bertolo (Milan, 1968) holds a degree in Information Sciences from the Università Statale di Milano and a diploma in painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. He has lived in San Paolo, London, Berlin and Vienna. Since 2006, he has lived in a town in the Apuan Alps. He has participated in exhibitions in public and private places, among which GAM, Turin; GNAM, Rome; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Centro Luigi Pecci, Prato; MACRO, Rome; Galleria Comunale di Monfalcone; Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena; Nomas Foundation, Rome; SpazioA, Pistoia; Arcade, London; Fondazione Prada, Milan; 176 / Zabludowicz Collection, London; Uqbar, Berlin; Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Gent; The Goma, Madrid; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles. His articles have appeared in Flash Art, Il Giornale dell’arte, Exibart, Artribune, Warburghiana, Doppiozero. He now teaches painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna.  



Gavoi - Ex Caserma

Via Sant'Antioco 1


11-28 June

10 am -1 pm/ 4 pm -7 pm

29 June - 2 July

10 am - 10 pm



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