Bertozzi & Casoni is a company that was founded in 1980 in Imola by Giampaolo Bertozzi (Borgo
Tossignano, Bologna, 1957) and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni (Lugo di Romagna, Ravenna, 1961).
During their initial training at the State Institute for Ceramic Art in Faenza they started to direct their interest towards a dialogue with the great artistic tradition and they cultivated their vocation for experimentation in sculpture, seeing the opportunity for painted sculpture in ceramics.
Bertozzi & Casoni then went on to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and they took part in events that focused on the main figures and the reasons behind the “new ceramics” in an attempt to go beyond the gap that continued to relegate this expressive medium to a minor level that was more popular than other art forms.
They started with small-sized creations in thin polychrome majolica. Between 1985 and 1989 they collaborated with the Cooperativa Ceramica in Imola as researchers in the Centre for Ceramic
Experimentation and Research and from 1987 to 1988 they also worked with
“K International Ceramics Magazine” for which they produced front cover images. Just before ending their collaboration with the Imola Cooperativa they produced two important works sponsored by the company: interventions at Tama New Town (Tokyo 1989-90) and the large panel “Ditelo con I fiori” placed on an external wall of Imola Hospital.
Between 1983 and 1994 they started to develop contacts with the world of design through their special relationship with the Dilmos space in Milan and by participating at various presentations of Abitare il Tempo in Verona and at the Triennale in Milan, as well as shows in the former church of San Carpoforo, once again in Milan. They designed the “Poltrona Ercolano” for Dino Gavina.
The Nineties saw the emergence of more conceptual and radical work, as if to compensate for the hypertrophic expressivity and indestructible executive perfection that at the turn of the century, with “Bosco sacro” of 1993, “Evergreen” of 1995 and “Scegli il Paradiso” of 1997, reached unprecedented heights in terms of dimensions and creativity. With this last work, Bertozzi & Casoni brought their chapter of painted majolica to a close and they opened up to experimentation that involved the almost exclusive use of industrial materials and technologies. This was a decisive phase that allowed their work to reach a higher level of physical presence. Pictorial virtuosity was abandoned in favour of selected subjects whose expression was as objective as possible. Their favoured iconographical themes, that took on substance in the great artistic categories of vanitas and memento mori, underwent a fantastical transfiguration and their formal transcription took on the objective form that lessened the presence of the creators themselves and the conditioning perception of a particular time.
This was the great breakthrough. This was the start of the chapter of “contemplation of the present” in which, in a sort of “trash epic”, the attraction for what is frail, transitory, perishable and decaying became an internationally recognised icon of a, not only contemporary, human condition.
The critics, museums and the most important national and international art galleries became interested in their work.
In 2004 they were invited to exhibit at the Tate Liverpool and at the 14th Quadriennale in Rome.
In 2007 there was the personal exhibition in Ca’ Pesaro, at the International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice (where they exhibited three major works in conjunction with the Biennale: “Composizione in bianco”, “Le bugie dell’arte” and “Composizione e Scomposizione” and in 2008 the shows at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan and the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza. In 2009 their works were exhibited in the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (“Composizione non finita-infinita” and “Rebus”); in 2010 at the All Visual Arts in London, at the Sperone Westwater in New York, at the Galleria Sperone at Sent and at the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan. In 2011 they exhibited at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Ajaccio, in the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (“Sedia elettrica con farfalle”), at the FaMa Gallery in Verona, at La Maison Rouge in Paris. In 2012 they presented a show at the Robilant+Voena Gallery in London, at the Sperone Westwater in Lugano and once again at the Sperone Westwater in New York. In the same year they presented a personal show at the All Visual Arts in London where the large work “Regeneration” was exhibited for the first time. In 2013 there were the personal exhibitions at the Beelden aan Zee Museum in The Hague, at the Beck & Eggeling Gallery in Düsseldorf, at the Cardi Gallery in Pietrasanta and in 2014 the shows at the Sperone Westwater in Lugano and in the monumentali rooms at Palazzo Te in Mantua. 2015 saw the personal shows at the Tega Gallery in Milano, at the Poleschi Gallery in Lucca, at the Sperone Westwater in New York, at the Mambo in Bologna, at the Art’In Gstaad Gallery in Gstaad and they participated at Expo Milano 2015. In 2016 there were the personal exhibitions in the rooms of Palazzo Larderel in Florence, at the Gallery of Modern Art in Palermo, at the Espace Grandjean in Vallauris, at the Verolino Gallery in Modena, at the Macist in Biella and at the Palazzo Ducale in Massa. In 2017 at the Museum of Palazzo Poggi in Bologna and at the Pinacoteca Civica in Ascoli Piceno.
Moving between compositive surrealism and formal hyperrealism, for years Bertozzi & Casoni have been investigating the waste of contemporary society, without excluding cultural and artistic waste. This creation of scenarios produces an infinite series of energising rebounds that alternate between decay and the rediscovery of survived or misunderstood beauty, abstraction or representation, impermanence and eternity, history and contemporaneity, fantastical imagination and precise technique.