Agostino Bonalumi

Virmercate 1935 – 2013

Agostino Bonalumi was born in 1935 in Virmercate.

After studying technical drawing and mechanics, he frequented young artistic circles in Milan, and became acquainted with Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani.

Taking stock of the end of the Art Informel movement, he collaborated with the Azimuth review, which advocated abandoning the artistic experimentations proposed thus far, and considered a new departure. This starting over, this tabula rasa of sorts was initiated by artists such as Manzoni, Castellani, etc. They chose to use monochrome (frequently a white space) and to experiment with it through various techniques (by raising it, stabbing it or else by crumpling the canvas), emphasizing the role of light in the making of the artwork. This original approach had a major impact on the history of 20th century abstract art and was by no means limited to the Italian artistic scene.

According to several critics, although Bonalumi’s work remains grounded in the artistic reflection started by Manzoni, Castellani, etc., it is also highly original, because of the way the artist plays with light and shadow. He modulates the surface of the monochrome by using pieces of wood and metal attached to the back of the canvas, thus creating relief and tension on the colored surface.

In addition to his pictorial creations, the artist developed a poetic body of work that was just as important (six collections of poetry between 2000 and 2010).

In 1970, a personal exhibition was dedicated to him at the Venice Bienniale. In 1980, his works were presented in a big exhibition at the Palazzo Te in Mantova. Then, in 2001 he was decorated by the president of the Italian Republic. The artist lived and worked in Milan. He died in September 2013.

Agostino Bonalumi was born in 1935 in Virmercate.

After studying technical drawing and mechanics, he frequented young artistic circles in Milan, and became acquainted with Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani.

Taking stock of the end of the Art Informel movement, he collaborated with the Azimuth review, which advocated abandoning the artistic experimentations proposed thus far, and considered a new departure. This starting over, this tabula rasa of sorts was initiated by artists such as Manzoni, Castellani, etc. They chose to use monochrome (frequently a white space) and to experiment with it through various techniques (by raising it, stabbing it or else by crumpling the canvas), emphasizing the role of light in the making of the artwork. This original approach had a major impact on the history of 20th century abstract art and was by no means limited to the Italian artistic scene.

According to several critics, although Bonalumi’s work remains grounded in the artistic reflection started by Manzoni, Castellani, etc., it is also highly original, because of the way the artist plays with light and shadow. He modulates the surface of the monochrome by using pieces of wood and metal attached to the back of the canvas, thus creating relief and tension on the colored surface.

In addition to his pictorial creations, the artist developed a poetic body of work that was just as important (six collections of poetry between 2000 and 2010).

In 1970, a personal exhibition was dedicated to him at the Venice Bienniale. In 1980, his works were presented in a big exhibition at the Palazzo Te in Mantova. Then, in 2001 he was decorated by the president of the Italian Republic. The artist lived and worked in Milan. He died in September 2013.

  • Blu, 1972, 180 x 160 cm, Vinyl tempera on extroflexed canvas.

Blu, 1972, 180 x 160 cm, Vinyl tempera on extroflexed canvas.

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