Walter Bortolossi

Life, style & influence

Walter Bortolossi was born in Basel in 1961.
A prodigy, he started drawing and cutting out figures from newspapers to create stories of his own invention.
His interest was focused on “cursed” figures linked to the French environment, such as Baudelaire, Lautréamont, and Artaud, who spent his childhood dedicating them drawings inspired by the styles of American underground comics.
After a period close to Art Brut and Cobra, in harmony with the then-emerging Transavanguardia in 1987, his painting took a turn.
His artworks allude to a plurality of languages destined not to communicate with each other. Moreover, his paintings feature quotes taken from history and the philosophy of science. The titles are directly painted onto the paintings, recalling, in an ironic key, not only Visual Poetry but also comics and magazines, playing on the innuendos and ambiguities arising between text and image.
The titles range from book titles to famous or apparently peremptory phrases, ranging across various fields, from classical philosophy to science fiction literature. Unlike Conceptual Art, where the idea predominates over the work, here the pictorial realization adds new content to the starting idea.

His works

His works (sometimes in three dimensions) are characterized by occupying every available space, almost dominated by a sort of Horror Vacui.
With the advent of the computer, which Bortolossi uses to compose his works, this tendency towards accumulation is accentuated, resorting to evident distortions and experiments.
The reference to the crisis of ideologies is noticeable, to a community that struggles to give itself a unitary vision of existence, in which every hierarchy seems to lose value and everything appears aligned on the same plane: high culture and popular culture are indissolubly interconnected, as theorized in post-modern themes.
The paintings (always realized with the technique of oil colors) address various themes and contemporary characters, crossing different chronological and cultural dimensions and highlighting similarities and differences.

Want to know more?

Watch Episode 93 dedicated to Walter Bortolossi from our YouTube channel “Pralines – Deliciousness from the World of Art”