Luca Bertolo: The Domain of Painting


Italian painter Luca Bertolo is having a solo show at Arcade Fine Arts, opening tonight. I’m looking forward to meeting Luca and pleased he liked my press release. The show consists of advertsing pages from Art Forum that he’s painted over and elaborated on. And from what I’ve seen so far, it looks great.

Arcade Fine Arts, 87 Lever Street, London EC1V 3RA

March 19 – April 18 2009 Private View Wednesday March 18, 18:00 – 20:00

Press Release

If we take culture as the most ‘frivolous and serious’ of activities, we can see how Luca Bertolo’s most recent experimental and playful work might fit into this schema. Through his appropriation of the communicative fashion supplement or art journal advert – which he uses as a substrate to re-inscribe with his singular painterly subjectivity – he creates his own auto-referential Universe, which cannot be reduced to formalism or mere informational conceptualism. Here is an example of painting as a mode of construction and production of subjectivity, a heterogenetic practice in which subjectivity is a further augmentation to the painter’s polychromatic palette.

Art occupies a privileged position in contemporary capitalist society. This unique self-positioning can be traced back to the Renaissance when artists first began to express their own subjectivities. Art was able to detach itself from the specific axioms that governed society and consequently, art now heralds a novel ethical and aesthetic paradigm of previously unforeseen and unthinkable qualities of being. It performs this through processes of emergent potential and techniques of experimental creativity. It ruptures and sutures reality with the materials it finds present-at-hand, utilising all of the plastic arts to mobilise the vectors of sensation in order to offer resistance to capitalism’s overcoding regimes of communication. Accordingly, art is a laboratory for the crystallisation of mutant subjectivities, painterly or otherwise. Art, in the institutional sense is fully integrated and complicit with capitalism, yet the productive and constructive qualities of art still privilege and engender the radically new. This resingularisation is counter to the totalising and subsuming continuum we inhabit, a system that only produces for production’s sake.

As an inheritor of Duchamp’s readymade, Bertolo goes beyond the merely informational re-presentation of the commodity, overflowing the discursive and linguistic boundaries that Duchamp intended, in which the readymade is circumscribed as capitalist signifier. And whilst Bertolo still has formal and conceptual concerns, his work cannot be reduced to bald concept or simple commodity alone; it constructs anti-materialist existential territories via the affective register. This surpasses the discursive artistic games of the informational readymade and speaks of something more implicitly political and democratic that teeters on the anarchic. Subsequently, meaning actively multiplies in the work – it swarms in the manner of poetics. The work becomes a ‘movable host of metaphors’, an irreducible mobile cusp that more adequately models the chaos of our reality. By this operation it delimits itself from capitalist purview and invents its own unique domain.

Andrew Osborne 2009

More of Luca’s work: here

About andrewosborne

Andrew Osborne has recently completed his MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmith's.
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