At The Art Show, Sperone Westwater will present new ceramic works by the Italian team Bertozzi & Casoni, who have shown with the gallery since 2005. Their signature ceramic sculptures serve as a bold contemplation of past art and present culture, a critique of contemporary consumerism and reflect modern consumption and its resulting detritus. The artists initially consider the process of decay because, as they have stated, “it is a very intense vision of the world...the true essence of things can be found in decay, in everything that has been rejected, in junk, in rubbish. It is in decay where you can perceive true life, where you can see a human being’s essence.”
Bertozzi & Casoni create intricate, realistic tableaux filled with identifiable, everyday objects: egg shells, gasoline canisters, discarded paper cups, luxury handbags and Brillo boxes. The works frequently allude to the traditions of vanitas and memento mori – a playful commentary on art history. By masterfully rendering these instances in ceramic, Bertozzi & Casoni lend permanence to moments of thoughtlessness and waste.
Since the beginning of their career, Bertozzi & Casoni saw in ceramics, the opportunity to revitalize an artform. Their approach is characterized by hyper-realistic recreations of real-life objects. In this mimetic form, their ceramic objects make permanent what we perceive to be the transient markers of our existence. Their work simultaneously creates illusions and shatters them – forcing you to realize that the objects they present before you are, despite their realism, made of clay, and in the wake of that realization, causes you to question your perception of the object itself.
Giampaolo Bertozzi (born in Borgo Tossignano in 1957), and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni (born in Lugo di Romagna in 1961, died in Imola in 2023), met as students at the Gaetano Ballardini Ceramic Art Institute in Faenza, Italy. Their work was featured in the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and 2011. Solo museum exhibitions include a survey at Castello Sforzesco and Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza (2008-09), a solo show at Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, Italy (2011-12); and “Bertozzi & Casoni: Timeless” at the Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag, The Netherlands (2013). Recent solo museum exhibitions include MAMbo, Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (2015-16); Palazzo Poggi, Bologna (2017); Museo MARCA, Catanzaro (2019); Museo Morandi, Bologna (2019-20); and Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (2022). Opening 28 October 2023, “Bertozzi & Casoni: Tranche de vie,” a multi-institution survey organized by the City of Imola and Imola Museums will be on view at Palazzo Tozzoni, Museo San Domenico and Rocca Sforzesca until 18 February 2024. In 2017, Museo Bertozzi & Casoni, a permanent exhibition space devoted to their work, opened at the Cavallerizza Ducale in Sassuolo, Italy. Bertozzi currently lives and works in Imola. They have had solo exhibitions at Sperone Westwater in 2005, 2015 and 2021.