It is with deep and profound sadness that Gertrude acknowledges the passing of Damiano Bertoli. As an artist, Damiano forged a practice for over a quarter of a century, defined by its material dexterity, intellectual rigour, art historical literacy, and unassailable momentum of progression. He has contributed significantly to the evolution and maturation of contemporary art in Melbourne, capable of making work that is imbued by biographical connection points, international in its vista, attuned to the legacy of post-modernity and cultural change since 1969, yet fervently in and of the moment, the Continuous Moment. This was a term Damiano would adopt as the overarching framework for his practice since titled in his 2003 exhibition at Gertrude. It was a defining project for the artist, and one that signalled his capacity to collapse and interconnect cultural and social iconographies, art histories and temporalities with a confidence and foresight of one producing art of and about the centres and events transpired in them from their peripheries. The assuredness of his approach was not about distance, but of resonance and connectivities.
Damiano’s connections and contributions to Gertrude and its communities were enormous and remain so in impact and legacy. Damiano participated in the studio program from 1999 – 2001, and served as a board member from 2004 – 2010. Since 2000, Damiano has presented three solo exhibitions at 200 Gertrude Street, in Studio 12, and at Gertrude Glasshouse, and participated in multiple curated exhibitions, notably A Short Ride in a Fast Machine, marking the first two decades of Gertrude in 2005, and in The Beginning of Time. The End of Time, the final exhibition in Gertrude’s former Fitzroy spaces in 2017.
Damiano’s influence is potent and pervasive. As an astute cultural commentator, Damiano would opine with wry wit, vast intellect, generosity of attention, and deep reserves of care and engagement. His contribution to the vitality of the artistic and cultural community, across generations, will hold register and influence for extensive time to come. The hole he leaves is vast, and at this moment, seemingly infinite.
On behalf of the artists, staff and board of Gertrude, past and present, we wish the greatest strength and offer our deepest condolences to his family and dearest of friends.
May his Continuous Moment last forever more.