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When looking at contemporary painting, the viewer is often put in contact with a variety of elements and explanations that belong outside of the canvas’ perimeter but have a strong connection with what is being portrayed. Marco Bongiorni’s manual “Drawing as Fighting”, accompanies us within the depths of the painter’s life experience, allowing us to develop a higher state of consciousness regarding the reasons that brought to the creation of such a pristine aesthetic. 

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Born in Garbagnate Milanese in 1981, Marco Bongiorni currently lives in Milano, spending his time painting in his studio, practicing his boxing skills and teaching drawing classes at the “NABA” Fine Arts Academy. His artistic persona, can be described as a powerful combination of honesty, courage and painterly technique, making Bongiorni an example of pureness for us young painters and dreamers to look up to. 


 Marco Bongiorni, Green Boxeur - Johnny Tapia, 2019. Oil on canvas.


As we should, but may not know, painting is a practice that constantly questions itself, a process that develops a never-ending chain of problematic appearances, which the artist tries to unravel, either for his own ego or for the eyes of his viewers to understand. A moment filled with inner conflict, during which the painter is driven to find his own persona within the canvas’ perimeter, and is required to create a dialogue between what will be displayed “in” the surface, and the external and intimate reasons that developed and created a meaning for the final image to embody. Therefore, the artist’s personal experience and everyday stimuli have crucial importance in the enhancement of one’s specific aesthetic. After that being said, if we look at Marco Bongiorni’s research, we may find a series of appearances, both in the subjects and in the narratives that the artist investigates, which have a strong connection with the painter’s love for the world of fighting, specifically for the noble art of Boxing. “Drawing as Fighting”, will no longer be an enigmatic juxtaposition of words, but the perfect title for Bongiorni’s manual, in which all of his duality is allowed to unravel and explain itself to the reader; a clue, towards the understanding of the artist’s love both for drawing and fighting. 


Marco Bongiorni, extract from the artist’s manual “Drawing as Fighting”, 2020. 


“I am a painter in love with Boxing and in these years in the gym, between rope and heavy bag, I realized that boxing and drawing have many aspects in common; they are both disciplines that develop and find strength around the limits from which they arise”.

Fighters, crying men, self-portraits and unusual chromatic juxtapositions freely combine, creating the artist’s imagery; a world for Marco Bongiorni to travel into, a stage in which the artist is given total freedom of choice, a safe place where the artist is allowed to research his own self, while taking chances and creating mergers of narratives and contexts. As Bongiorni explains himself, the boxing ring, when looked from above, resembles a blank piece of paper. “A closed space, well defined, but free to be investigated”. A painter, with his gestures and his way of approaching the canvas through a series of well-practiced schemes, often embodies the approach of a Shadow Boxer: a lone presence, in meditation, dancing in an unsafe perimeter, attacking the thinness of the air and defending himself from an invisible rival, both fighting with his technical issues and falling in love with the rhythm of the fight. 

Drawing within’ the Boxing Ring the traces of his path towards greatness. 


Marco Bongiorni, Uomo che Piange, 2020. Oil on canvas.


Marco Bongiorni, extract from the artist’s manual “Drawing as Fighting”, 2020.


Cover image: Marco Bongiorni, Uomo che Piange, 2020. Drawing on paper.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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