turf, stones, wood, animal bones, found objects;
with special thanks to Julia Martin
[testo in Italiano]
The work of Francesco Bertelé develops from the search for an individual relationship with the places in which the artist has lived; places in which the natural dimension has a strong presence and in which he can project his desire for a profound, primary, organic harmony. In an attempt to create this relationship, Bertelé activates connections in time and space, retrieving local tales and myths, unearthing objects and giving rise to different forms of sharing with local figures.
The project Guha realized during the period which the artist spent in Iceland, derive from a reflection in which different themes intersect. One of these themes is that of the artist's studio, intended not only as a material place of production but as a condition for an internal voyage which includes meditation, in-depth study and the re-discovery of both individual and collective memory which, in solitude, emerges more easily from the past. It is a favourable condition for the coming together with the new and with the “other”. “Guha – writes Bertelè – is the inner cavern on the outermost edge of the world, an environmental monument hidden within the bowels of the earth. An invisible refuge for meditating on the nature on which we all depend.”
The exhibition includes a series of drawings, photographs and artefacts; some are objects which have been found; a video; an optical device which, like the drawings, take us back through the history of vision to a kind of antique technology. The whole is realised in a sort of diary.
“The exhibition planned for “ntcm e l'arte” is designed as a narration of the process of isolation and of the search for the void which I experienced during my stay in Iceland. The search for a void to ensure that there is space for imagination in order to obtain decolonization of it. A conceptual synthesis which has been translated into a practical method of day to day meditation. The finished work is invisible to most, hidden at the end of the path which led me there. Only those who desire to embark on this journey will find it, so discovering their own cavern in their heart.
It is for this reason that this exhibition is made up of various elements, all distinguished by a strong diary-like component. Every one of these elements of unstable boundaries is part of that process of hyper-extension(1) which, as it unfolds, composes the work as unfinished, a constellation of personal elements, linked by the only path possible. My experience. Within the elements displayed in this exhibition there is, however, a hidden code which can lead he or she who deciphers it to the exact location of the cavern created in Iceland. But only one person will be able to do this because some of the elements on display must be destroyed in order to continue.
The unique bond which develops between the artistic work and its only true beneficiary means that he or she must embark on a journey towards the work of art, a personal journey rich in experiences and encounters which will perhaps lead him towards a private meditation and his or her personal 'cavern in the heart'. “
Text by Gabi Scardi for the Exhibition “I will sow princess pearls in a cave” at NCTM
(1)“The process of hyperextension is shown to include the artist herself, as increasingly embedded ecological agent.” Julia Martin
objects meditation - inkject print on cotton paper
I started with an idea, a far-away, abstract idea, far-away from where I am and far-away from my being in this place.
I started with the idea of creating a 'cavern of the heart'. My cavern of the heart.
It is the place of emptiness, a void like the absence and abandonment of self.
Don't fear because emptiness cannot be offended by emptiness. Everything is your illusionary image, nothing truly exists, externally, like real objects; neither the gods, nor the demons nor the bull-headed devil.
The courage to abandon the cavern and search for the light. A light made of memories...
But I, a voracious consumer of places and time, expanding towards the zero of each moment eroded after another, find myself in a continual and merciless present.
I asked myself how I could go back in time and make myself a shelter. How could I survive here?
Like the ''Man of the Hole”. Dig holes to be invisible to the world. A world of noise.
I need the silence of images, silence of the use of the image.
I need to generate emptiness, to return to the void before words. I need to learn how to construct holes. Holes to exist and appear only as hollows.
But to do this I must train myself for incorruptibility in my every most banal thought. I must estrange myself from the use of imagery.
Look and don't let yourself be distracted!
So I try to find edges, I focus myself on those lacerations.
I remain adhered to the earth like the roots of an errant plant and I cling to my daily life in another place to find my way back home.
I am contained and container of nature.
I attempt to move with my mind a rock considered sacred but in truth, nothing other than ballast for antique merchant's boats.
But with what right do you intrude into my life?
My journey here is a journey within myself. It is an esoteric path of isolation and loss of all my certainties.
Think with the body, with all its harshness, skin, flesh, blood, bones, lymph, breath, mind. There is nothing to gain, nothing to give.
I demand the freezing of the insect in the piece of amber, the synthesis of the pearl in the shell.
I am a supporter of the human being as an agent, 'able to confer a touch of splendour to death'.
A forsworn assassin once wrote that 'regret is almost always the fastest path towards imposture'.
Today I have erased all I have achieved in the last few days. I have followed counsel of the snow. I have let time transform me and give me its pearls. A stream of pearls.
I observe the world and have few inadequate words.
In my head I hear only the uninterrupted sigh of the wind which impedes my thoughts, a tempest which torments me.
From here I will take away nothing and will leave the world solidified in a clot of emptiness.
In short, I had to come this far, go out one morning and search for a duck's skull seen on the beach a few days before, to find instead a perfect sculpture which needed two years of gestation, thirty-seven of which were mere manipulation and modelling.
Wherever there is man and spirituality, there is a cavern of the heart.
May 2015, Skaftfell project space, Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland
[Thesis] Martin, Julia. 2015. Ecocritical Art in Times of Climate Change: Tracing Ecological Relationships Between Humans and Nonhumans Through the Hyperextension of Objects. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London.