AGOSTINO BONALUMI 1935 – 2013

September 19, 2013

The internationally renowned artist, known for his career built over six decades working in the field of abstract painting and sculpture, had battled with ill health in recent years.

Agostino Bonalumi was given his first solo show aged 21 at Galleria Totti, Milan in 1956 and thereafter exhibited regularly with his contemporaries Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani, becoming one of the founding members of the seminal Azimuth magazine and participating in exhibitions at the Azimut gallery. In 1960 he was one of the founders of the international Nouvelle École Européenne (NEE) movement in Lausanne and his solo exhibition “Agostino Bonalumi. Recent Paintings, Sculptures and Drawings” opened at the New Vision Centre Gallery in London. He had assiduous contacts and links with the international ZERO movement (both in the Netherlands and Germany), documented by major exhibitions such as “Zero” in London, 1964, and the touring exhibition “ZERO Avantgarde”, which began in Lucio Fontana’s studio in Milan in 1965.

In 1966 Bonalumi was invited to take part in the 33rd Venice Biennale along with Paolo Scheggi, while in 1970 at the 35th Venice Biennale he was given a solo presentation. In 1967 he was invited to the São Paulo Biennial and the Biennial of Young Artists in Paris. This was followed by a period of study and work in northern Africa and America, where he lived for a while in New York. It was here that he held his first solo show in the United States: “Agostino Bonalumi. Painting–constructions”, at the Galeria Bonino in 1967. During this period, the artist embarked on his own particular course of painting and environmental sculpture, which unfolded over the decades in some fundamental stages starting in 1967 with Blu abitabile (Inhabitable Blue) created for “Lo spazio dell’immagine” exhibition in Foligno and due to be recreated for the first time in an international context at ROBILANT+VOENA in OCTOBER. More recently, Ambiente bianco – Spazio trattenuto e spazio invaso (White Environment – Detained Space and Invaded Space) was created in 2002 for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

In 1974, a retrospective of Bonalumi’s work was held in the Palazzo dei Musei in Modena, followed by numerous solo, group and retrospective exhibitions in Italy and internationally over the following three decades. Most recently, he was given a retrospective in 2011 at the Museum of Modern Art, Moscow. Despite poor health, Agostino Bonalumi continued to work right up till his untimely death, completing several new works in 2013 driven by his characteristic sincere devotion to his life-long artistic practice. 

His importance in shaping the landscape of postwar Italian and European art will be affirmed at the forthcoming major exhibition of his work at ROBILANT+VOENA, opening to the public on October 4. Though not a full career retrospective, BONALUMI. All the Shapes of Space 1958 – 1976 will be the first UK solo presentation of his work since 1960 and an exhaustive survey of the crucial period when his pivotal role in the history of twentieth century modernism became assured. 

The previously planned Reception for the Artist on Monday 14 October, 6 – 9pm will now go ahead in Memory of the Artist. 

Accompanying the exhibition will be a 200 page book published by SKIRA/Rizzoli which will include the last interview with the artist taken by curator Francesca Pola in Spring 2013 as well as an iconographic mapping of approximately thirty of Bonalumi’s works in museums around the world, from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

ROBILANT+VOENA are further in the process of producing a documentary film about the artist, featuring interviews filmed with the Artist in his studio during August this year.


Notes to Editors:

BONALUMI
All the Shapes of Space 1958 - 1976
4 October - 15 November 2013

Reception in Memory of the Artist: Monday, 14 October, 6 – 9pm

ROBILANT+VOENA
38 Dover Street, London W1S 4NL


• Agostino Bonalumi’s first solo exhibition in the UK in over 50 years.
• Exhibition curated and monograph edited by Francesca Pola, under the supervision of the artist and in cooperation with the Archivio Bonalumi.
• Featuring over 30 works by the artist, including Bianco (1964) from the Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, alongside pieces by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, Dadamaino, and Paolo Scheggi.
• The first international showing of his environment, Blu abitabile (1967) to be displayed in its original configuration.

Exhibition Opening hours: 
Monday-Friday, 10:00 am 6:00 pm;
Sat – 11am – 5pm;
Sun 13 and 20 Oct – 12 – 5pm.
Admission: Free

Please contact Mira Dimitrova on +44 (0) 207 409 1540 or mira@robilantvoena.com for all further information and press materials.