Members of Melbourne’s arts fraternity are collectively mourning the recent untimely passing at 52 of Damiano Bertoli, a final year Parade College student of 1986.
Damiano, whose father Fabrizio comleted his final studies at Parade in 1967, maintained close friendships with many of his fellow Old Paradians, amongst them Robert De Melis who assisted with this tribute. Damiano did not marry and had no children, and as his mother died some years ago he is survived by his father, brothers Adrian and Simon, and their families.
Admired and respected as an influential and important artist, writer and teacher, Damiano pursued his great passion at art school after completing Year 10 at the Bundoora Campus. He became a founding member of Melbourne’s influential artist-run space Ocular Lab. He completed his PHD at Monash University, and in a career spanning three decades is best remembered for his multidisciplinary series ‘Continuous Moment’ (2002–2021), which captured practices ranging from performance to drawing.
Having been represented by Brunswick’s Neon Park Gallery, Damiano’s contemporary artworks were exhibited in Australia, and worldwide including New Zealand, Italy, England and USA. The award-winning artist also imparted his knowledge and expertise in fine art studies to students at Monash University and at the VCA.
One of more than 300 contemporary artists supported by the Gertrude Studios, Damiano’s death earlier this month was acknowledged by Gertrude which paid the following tribute:
‘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.
Damiano Bertoli (1969-2021)
Riposare in Pace
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.