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Bertozzi & Casoni. Eulogy of fake flowers

Museo Morandi
12 October 2019 - 6 January 2020

The extent to which Giorgio Morandi’s work is inherently up-to-date and studied by artists is now well known, with the latter interpreting it and making it their own via the most diverse and varied languages. The 2017 presentation in this very museum of an exhibition entitled Attualità di Morandi - Morandi’s modernity - was designed to underline this now established truth. The lessons of this great painter have now been absorbed and reworked in their own way by the Bertozzi & Casoni duo via the medium they are masters of - ceramics. Their attention has turned to certain famous paintings depicting flower vases and, paradoxically, it would seem almost that Morandi’s painting work was, for these potters, the key to getting into harmony with the things which were its model. No bottle, no bowl or carafe, but those flower vases which we can still, today, admire in Morandi’s home-museum.

We know that the model preferred by Morandi was not fresh flowers, which are so fleeting and change day by day (thus creating variants independent of his will), but silk or dried flowers which remain the same and, like other objects, gather dust creating colour effects which were by no means disliked by Morandi and perhaps for this reason sought by him. It is thus an enquiry which begins with the absence of life which he recreated on his canvases via soft and delicate face powder tones and precious green hues.

Bertozzi & Casoni have always been interested in the flower theme and seem to be trying to breathe new life into those deliberately long stemmed cut roses (Morandi, by contrast, as Cesare Brandi recalled, “cut his roses below the bud and laid them on the edge of a vase as dense as a bride’s bouquet”) with brightly coloured insects on their leaves. This is a careful and personal reworking, then, from which full-blown ‘d’aprés Morandi’ emerges, following on from the famous Gio Ponti work which offered up punctured, bejewelled, masked and even buttoned bottles over seventy years ago.

But what might Morandi have thought or muttered under his breath to himself if he could have seen the creations of Giampaolo Bertozzi and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni inspired by some of his flower paintings? Who knows. Perhaps he might have chosen them as subjects for his next painting.