Where: Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce
Opening: June 13th, 6 pm
Curated by Chiara Oliveri Bertola and Ilaria Bonacossa
Collecting artists at the start of their careers as a gamble on the future, as a way to foresee the twists and turns in contemporary art. Started in Genova in 1975 thanks to the support of friends such as Ida Gianelli and Germano Celant, the Bertola Collection gathers works of international and Italian artists that have remained undoubtedly relevant to the present day.
The term “Collection” usually describes an assortment of objects that have been selected, more or less systematically, for their historical, artistic, or scientific value. Apart from its conventional
definitions, a Collection can have several meanings and be open to different interpretations. Indeed, the act of collecting should not be understood as a mere compilation of artifacts since it is, more than
anything, the mirror of the collector’s own personality. Collecting contemporary art implies being in the present moment, living and sharing the same passions as the artists and all those who belong to this world out of either a personal or a professional interest.
Built up over the last forty years, Sergio Bertola’s collection is exactly this: it is not so much the product of “scientific” research as it is the result of a visceral passion for the works of art as well as for an open and receptive environment within which the collector could pursue and share a number of interests. Bertola’s collection was started almost by chance in the 1970s, when he begun to attend the few galleries active in Genova such as the samangallery, directed by Ida Gianelli, where he happened to see the first exhibitions of Giovanni Anselmo, Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, Joseph Kosuth and Sol LeWitt.
Diverse and heterogeneous, the Collection grew through his personal taste to include a number of works ranging from Minimal to Conceptual Art, from Arte Povera to works by a latest generation of artists. Although Conceptual Art might be considered both the starting point and the guiding thread of the Collection, in time it came to include works that more closely reflect the attitudes and interests of its owner, that is works imbued with a strong sense of irony and with a rather wry take on contemporary life.
His early, initially modest, purchases of prints, editions, and artworks were done back then. He soon became a regular art-goer striking up new relationships and consolidating long-term friendships
with artists, gallerists, and curators. In the meanwhile the Collection took gradually shape together with another collection owned by the restaurant Bertola used to run with his brother, a place where all
artists passing in Genova would eventually stop by.
I believe that the distinctive peculiarity of this Collection lies in its permanent state of becoming, in that pressing thrust for renewal that led Sergio Bertola to part without hesitation from some artworks after
a long time in order to further his inborn passion. The artworks in the Collection result from instinctive and at times ventured choices which, never influenced by the market’s fads, belie a penchant for the practice of younger artists. By virtue of its owner enthusiasm and curiosity, this Collection is above all never afraid of being contemporary.
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