Federico Bertolazzi

The exhibition Orto di Incendio is a free and passionate tribute to a poet who strongly made his mark on his country’s literary and artistic milieus. Al Berto, who studied in Brussels to become a painter, was a key figure in eighties and nineties Portugal.  After his return, he managed to personify a disquiet felt by many. His words embodied a sort of collective outcry born from the very heart of being; a daring to rise up against death. His joys and anxieties, his obsessions and his hopes are delved into and explored with a malleable language in which diaristic intimacy opens up into the stratified landscape of the images of the soul.

The translation of Orto di Incendio I worked on organized* in collaboration with Claudio Trognoni for Passigli publishing, the book from which the exhibition borrows its name, was the starting point for this homage which I felt the need to carry forward. 

There seemed to be, for the introduction of this poet to the italian public, a lack of a visual context in which to situate his words. 

I therefore invited artist Ana Natividade, head of the printmaking department at MArt art school, to conceive and coordinate an evocation of Al Berto’s aesthetical climate, his Stimmung, since landscape is what I have been pointing towards. 

Thus was born the idea of a collective exhibition which would bring together each artist’s reading in a collection of images. 

The works that compose this exhibition tread many of the paths that Al Berto laid out or suggested, and here, somewhere between the astonished silence of “Anjo Mudo” (1993), and a lacerated shadow cry, the themes, suggestions and atmospheres of the poet’s work, to which he gave his body and soul, are inflected in a multitude of ways. To all who participated and made this undertaking possible, I express my gratitude and profound joy.

February 2019