Alles over kunst

Expo  HART Nr. 195 special

Luca Bertolo & Chiari Camoni at Arcade

Lauren Wetmore

Praktische info

Luca Bertolo & Chiara Camoni, NOUS, until 19 October 2019, Arcade, rue du Marché aux Porcs 10, Brussels. Open Wed-Fri 2 pm-6 pm, Sat noon-6 pm, thisisarcade.art

Established in London in 2008, Arcade joined the ranks of galleries migrating to Brussels last April with their pop-up presentation of abstract paintings by American artist John Finneran. For Brussels Gallery Weekend, Arcade returns with Luca Bertolo (1969) and Chiara Camoni (1974), both prominent Italian artists. Though the two have been a couple for many years, this will be their first show together.

Chiara Camoni, Senza titolo (le Leonesse), 2019
The exhibition’s title Nous (We in French) puts this coming-together to the forefront and lends it further weight by noting that ‘nous’ is also a transliteration of the ancient Greek term ‘νοῦς’, meaning awareness, common-sense and shared intelligence. “While Europe looks like it is falling apart under petty chauvinisms”, the artists write, “a ‘nous’ can be easily misunderstood. Artists know that. They work in the realm of matter and misunderstanding. Poor fellows have no other choice.”

This multifaceted understanding of togetherness – why it happens and what it can yield – is found in Chiara Camoni’s “propensity to work through informal or casual relationships with people who could be said to be a part of her extended studio”, wrote Cecilia Canziani in the artist’s 2017 monograph published with NERO. The qualities of everyday life inform Camoni’s practice, which may be described as sculptural if we are also happy to call poetry, friendships, shrines and the stain of a flower pressed against silk sculptural. Camoni studied sculpture at Milan’s Brera Academy of Fine Arts and worked at the Institute of National Sciences in Naples. Fittingly, many of her works share their aesthetic between Arte Povera and museum specimen displays (or rather, those specimens returned to the wild). The relational is key to Camoni’s work – sculptures, drawings and writings created with a friend, in her kitchen or on a walk with family, follow materials through the transformations inherent to their creation and perception.
Luca Bertolo trained as a painter at the Brera Academy as well and brings a similarly extrapolated approach to his medium. Using a plethora of styles – realism, pointillism, assemblage – Bertolo poses questions about painting, from the philosophical to the political through the aesthetic. That said, illustration is perhaps the only approach to image-making that Bertolo will not employ as he is reticent on accepting art as a didactic tool of the artist. Instead, his paintings resist definition and reject meaning, while also juggling a continuous conversation with bastions of art history and cultural theory. “Negation is poetry”, Craig Burnett writes in Bertolo’s 2017 Mousse-published monograph. “Negation, in painting, makes nothing happen. Bertolo is always toying with this idea, teasing the viewer with the unseen.”