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Rosso, 1989

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Artwork offered by

ArteA Gallery, Milan

Dated Titled Framed

Size

92 x 73 cm
36.22 x 29 in

Reference

1cbecdc7

Year

1989

Medium

Paintings

Category


  • About the work

Technique: estroflexed canvas and vinyl tempera.


About the Artists

1935 Vimercate, Italy

1935-1945

Agostino Bonalumi was born on July 10, 1935 in Vimercate, Brianza, the most industrialized region north of Milan, from Abele and Gemma Pelucchi. His father, a pastry chef, is a left-wing activist, an opponent of the regime, and is secretly registered with the PCI. This leads him and forces him to stay often in the various Brianza countries, where he sometimes works autonomously and sometimes employed by some famous pastry shops. Agostino is the first male son (he has an older sister, Rosa, and will have two younger brothers, Teodoro and Pier Enrico). The sustenance of the family is not easy, and Agostino attends compulsory school and at the same time helps his father. His passion for painting was so precocious that in numerous interviews he affirmed that from a young age drawing and painting was a way for him to know the world.

1946 – 1957

At the end of the war, after finishing compulsory school, he attended - without being able to finish - a vocational school. His passion for painting coexists with his working needs: when he is not working he paints, and he looks for all the possibilities to exhibit his paintings (his first participation - he is only thirteen years old - at the National Prize City of Vimercate in 1948). His first solo show arrived in 1957 (Galleria Totti, Milan), which already bears witness to his gravitation towards the city of Milan.

1958 - 1959

In Milan, in the artistic environment around the Brera district, he met Enrico Baj, one of the founders of the so-called Nuclear Art. Baj introduced him to Piero Manzoni, then linked to the group, and an occasional meeting in a trattoria with Enrico Castellani turned into a deep association, which saw the three very young artists (Bonalumi is the youngest) begin to exhibit together, as if they were a group, in Italy (Gall. Pater, Del Prisma, Appia Antica) and abroad (Gall. Kasper, Lausanne). The association is abruptly interrupted, for personal reasons, on the eve of the publication of the first issue of the magazine "Azimuth" (Dec. 1959): since then Bonalumi, although still close to the other two for some years, appears as an artistic individuality, no longer linked to any group or formation. In the meantime, the "form" of his mature phase has been clarified, with a series of works - begun in late 1959 - in which the everted canvas appears.

1960 – 1964

While consolidating his notoriety as a young promise of Italian art, with a series of wide-ranging exhibitions (group shows in Bern, Chicago, Antwerp, Lausanne, London, Basel, and two solo shows, one in Rotterdam, still in mid-1959, and one in London), he met Giuliana Oliva, whom he married in 1961, at work - which he could not give up yet -. At the same time he decided to devote himself entirely to art, despite the strong concern of the families: his wife, on the other hand, immediately shared the choice. In 1962 his eldest son Fabrizio was born. The ways of his work were defined during 1962 and 1963, and 1964 saw the signing of his first contract with Arturo Schwarz, on the occasion of the exhibition in his gallery, inaugurated in February 1965.

1965 – 1970

These were the years of the "maturity" of his first cycle of works, which he was recognized with a series of exhibitions in the most important Italian galleries, with participation in international exhibitions (for example Zero Avantgarde, Weiss auf Weiss, IX Bienal in São Paulo) and at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966. In 1967, on the occasion of the exhibition "Lo spazio dell'Immagine" in Foligno, he created his first room - Blu abitabile - which will be followed by a small series of other rooms (such as the one for the Dortmund museum), culminating in the large room for the solo exhibition at the 35th Venice Biennale in 1970. In October 1967, then, thanks to his presence at the Biennale the previous year, he held an important solo show at Alfredo Bonino's Gallery in New York, where he had moved for a few months. In the meantime, from 1966 he signed an exclusive contract with Renato Cardazzo of the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, who would represent him until 1973. From a private point of view, he constantly tried to make up for the lack of high school and university studies, taking an interest and studying philosophy - with a particular interest in phenomenology -, art theory and poetry. In 1967 his second son Pierenrico was born.

1971 – 1989

From the beginning of the decade the new cycle of works, a "grid", matures and will continue until 1989. These were the years of consolidation, within an art system now distracted by other trends (such as Arte Povera in the 1970s, and Transavantgarde Expressionism in the 1980s). A series of environmental "projects" were born, from 1975 he began to write theoretical reflections on his work and the general situation, he wrote his first poems, which would be published for the first time in 1986 (another seven collections would follow), and he also devoted himself to collateral experiences, such as the sets for two contemporary ballets (in 1970 and 1972). In 1986 Luca Palazzoli of the Galleria Blu in Milan signed an exclusive contract with him, which lasted until 1997. In the meantime, in 1988 the symptoms of the tumor that will bring him to the end appear: a first surgical operation resolves well and procrastinates the fatal outcome.

1990 – 2004

Having exhausted the "grid" cycle, he elaborates a freer model, based on a steel rod structure that allows almost gestural extroversions. He reworked the sculptures he had made since 1965, modified them, and began to use bronze casting, in addition to the more usual - for him - fiberglass and PVC. A series of exhibitions in younger Italian galleries, such as Fumagalli in Bergamo and Niccoli in Parma (in addition to the Galleria Blu), began the slow work of rediscovering his work, culminating in a first major anthological exhibition at the InstitutMathildenhöhe in Darmstadt in 2003. In 2002 he was awarded the "President of the Republic Prize" by the Academy of San Luca in Rome. A second surgical operation, in 2000, signals the reoccurrence of the criminal. In 2003 the first granddaughter Matilde, Pierenrico's daughter, was born.

2005 – 2013

Using the steel rod technique, he realizes the last cycle of work, based on the concept of module and on a more geometrical rhythm than the previous one. In the meantime, he continues his work on sculpture, while he "lives" with his illness, which becomes more and more present in his life: he undergoes two other operations, in 2005 and 2011, and after the first of these he decides to move his studio, which had been in Milan since the 1960s, to Desio, where he now resides. The studio in Milan became the headquarters of the Agostino Bonalumi Archives, directed by his son Fabrizio. In 2007 the second nephew Alessandro, brother of Matilde, was born. The working relationships are now taken over by other galleries, including Mazzoleni in Turin and Robilant + Voena in London, which contribute, together with the changed taste, more favorable to the rediscovery of the artistic excellence of the sixties, to the international fame of the artist, materialized in exhibitions in Brussels, Singapore, Moscow. A collapse during a series of routine hospital visits led to his death on September 18, 2013, in Monza, preventing him from seeing his important solo exhibition in London, at Robilant+Voena, which opens on October 4.


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