Sassuolo: Discover the Museum Bertozzi & Casoni
The first museum dedicated to ceramics in contemporary art
by Francesca Cuoghi
Our report takes us to the characteristic streets in the historic center of Sassuolo, a small town straddled between the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, which has managed to achieve a prominent position in the world thanks to its famous industrial district linked to the production of ceramic tiles.
Sassuolo, however, not only represents a manufacturing tradition, which has become synonymous with innovation and cutting-edge technology, but also has an important historical heritage encompassing palaces, gardens and dwellings belonging to bygone eras. A short distance from the majestic Palazzo Ducale there is the Cavallerizza Ducale, an extraordinary work of art that enchants us with its charm and its skillfully restored architecture, in which the spirit of the past coexists with the modern world.The Cavellerizza Ducale was built between 1781 and 1788 on the orders of Duke Ercole Rinaldo III in order to rectify lack of stables and accommodation for the Ducal Dragoons that followed the Estense Court when it moved to the Ducal Palace residence of Sassuolo. This building, which in the past formed part of the “Estense Delight” together with the Ducal Palace of Sassuolo, today hosts the first museum dedicated to ceramics in contemporary art: the Museo Bertozzi e Casoni.
The project is the brainchild of Franco Stefani, an important Modena businessman. The museum brings together the most famous works of the artists that have been exhibited at international level, including the Tate Liverpool, the Sperone Westwater in New York, the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Biennale in Venice, the Palazzo Te in Mantua and the Expo 2015 in Milan.
The artists Giampaolo Bertozzi (1957) and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni (1961) come from Imola and had prestigious artistic training, from the school in Faenza to the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Their interests are focused on a dialogue with the great artistic tradition, cultivating an original vocation for experimentation in the sculptural field and seeing in the ceramic material a possibility for “painted sculpture”. Between composed surrealism and formal hyper-realism, Bertozzi & Casoni have been exploring the different forms of waste of contemporary society, without excluding cultural and artistic waste, in a production in which fantastic imagination and technical precision, figuration and abstraction, history and contemporaneity, degradation and beauty all form a part.
It is an original and unique exhibition of its kind, at times surreal, but with the ability to put on display objects and animals that seem real, alive, such is the perfection of every single detail. It is an unmissable opportunity to understand how a material such as ceramics, so familiar to us in our day-to-day lives, can transform into a work of contemporary art, inside a building which recalls the glories of a distant past and which is sublime example of Italian architecture from the 18th century.
The Museum is the brainchild of Franco Stefani – chairman of System Group, a leading company operating at an international level in the manufacturing industry with a high innovation and technology content –, a gift to the town of Sassuolo, a place of knowledge and exploration, in which ceramics and Italian culture are at the center of a marvelous stage of honor, representative of the Estense heritage.
The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free, you can visit it from Friday to Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.