Maurizio Bonfanti, son of the painter Angelo Bonfanti, was born in 1952 in Bergamo. He began his artistic education at the Liceo Artistico in Bergamo and attended courses in etching at the "Accademia di Belle Arti", Bergamo. Thereafter Maurizio Bonfanti continued his studies by taking a course in modern literature at the "Universita Statale" in Milan, yet decided to dedicate himself utterly to the arts in 1973.
From 1976 to 1983 he taught drawing and visual communications at a technical school in Bergamo. Up until the end of the 1970’s he spent 10 years working exclusively with etching, but abandoned this technique in favour of painting. As a painter he experimented with various technical approaches, yet always contemplating themes such as the body, nature, and urban landscapes. Thus he produced a number of artistic cycles and in particular at religious discourses.
Since 1978 his paintings have been exhibited at numerous one-man-shows as well as at collaborative exhibitions throughout Italy and abroad - the latter includes European countries such as Montecarlo, France, Spain as well as the USA. Furthermore, Bonfanti held major exhibitions in Lineart, Gend, Belgium, and Holland and participated at two prestigious exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Cantre Schalkwijk in Utrect. Also, in the more recently he has been commissioned to create artworks for the ‘Memorial of the Shoa’ which is to remember the cruelty of World War 2.
BONFANTI ABOUT HIS WORK: MB: We’re offended by every form of intolerance and discrimination; we love peace and we’re against any type of injustice that debases human dignity. Yet the coherence of what we say doesn’t always correspond to our behavior in every day life. (...) Art seems to have lost its ability to voice criticism in that it is more and more subject to a system of values whose only point of reference are the rules of the market.
If I were forced to see reality with objectivity and lucid rationality, that is, to stop dreaming, the image of Man I’ve been presenting in my pictures, lacerated and under attack, would inevitably be replaced by a surface covered only by deep, silent wounds. MB: By presenting the figure naked, by exposing it, I declare its supremacy. If I tend to leave out the face, it’s because I want to underline the body language.
By articulating the figures as though they were on stage, I present them with awareness. The figures are acted on, leaving the real protagonist free to take part in the staging. A face gives identity to a body; the intensity of a look or the form of a mouth denotes a condition, an emotional state. Hence, when the face is hidden, the emotional state must be seen in the body alone, whether totally visible or incomplete. In truth, the presence/ absence of the body has exactly that function. It allows the spectator to redraw the contours and imagine the face.
The surface of the paper on which I draw my nudes undergoes a series of attacks. These are an integral part of the expressive language of my works. What I try hard to do is to give substance to a surface, which is, by nature, smooth and neutral. But it isn’t only the paper that undergoes deterioration; the image is intentionally eroded and scratched too. Once the paper is glued to the canvas, what I intend to achieve is the image of a body which seems to re-emerge from the past, but which has the energy and fragility of contemporary Man.
He is always in the centre of his pictures. Naked, alone, standing, sitting, crouching. Steeped in darkness, and faceless. For years, Maurizio Bonfanti has been putting Man in the spotlight, at the center of the artist’s attention. He is there to be seen better, so that the perfect and fragile matter from which he is made can reflect something else. Here the body becomes a gift, a knot which unravels absorbing more and more the dense taciturn mixture of the all the surrounding space. The most immediate and instinctive answer to Bonfantis’ paintings is that the depicted body transmits a sense of uneasiness caused by its position in the space of the picture.
This sense of uneasiness rises from the figures never being placed well on the page, thus never being completely present. Often parts of the body are missing, or are out of the picture, leaving the space to compresses them in isolation. – Yet the notion of solitude appears to be put aside if not excluded, instead it is the wish to be alone that emerges from the images. Nevertheless, it has to be pointed out that there are times when we choose solitude, but there is other times when solitude isn’t a choice but a punishment.
The figures also appear to be in a un-identifiable non-place, where parts of the body have been absorbed by the surrounding vacuum, which can only be perceived by the observer thanks to the light, which contrasts the chiaroscuro.
2008 - Gormleys Fine Art, Belfast, Northern Ireland - Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Milano 2007 - PASSIO: Spazio Arte Pisanello, Verona 2006 - ARBOR VITAE: Museo della Basilica, Clusone, Bergamo PUBLIC COLLECTIONS - Museo Michetti, Francavilla Mare, Chieti - Seminario Vescovile di Bergamo - Cappella Cropelli, Brescia - National Museum of Fine Arts Taiwan - CINQUE PORTE IN MEMORIA DELLA SHOAH, Auditorium della Provincia, Bergamo - Chiesa Parrocchiale di Lallio, Bergamo - Sala Civica, Castione della Presolana, Bergamo - IL POLITTICO DI MARNE: Chiesa di S. Fermo, Grignano, Bergamo - Museo Arte e Spiritualità, Brescia - CINQUE GRANDI TELE INTORNO ALL’UOMO: Chiesa di Redona, Bergamo - Yung Museum, Palazzo Ducale di Revere, Mantova.
COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS 2008 - SACRALITÀ DEL CORPO: Castel Dell’Ovo, Napoli 2007 - NELLA LUNGA NOTTE Galleria Il Triangolo, Bergamo - Albemarle Gallery, Londra - Calvin Charles Gallery, Scottsdale Arizona, USA - Visions from Italy, Gallery 27 Cork Street, Londra - Ma voi, chi dite che io sia? Università Cattolica, Milano. 2006 - Premio Michetti, Francavilla Mare, Chieti - XII International Biennial, National Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan - Dissonanze, Chiostro di Santa Marta, Bergamo - 45° anniversario Liceo Artistico Statale di Bergamo”, Ex convento San Francesco, Bergamo - Artisti del 1900 e Contemporanei, Palazzo Loffredo, Potenza - Selection of works from Biennale del Disegno di Pilsen, Sala Manzù, Bergamo and Czech Centre in Brusselles, Belgium - Quadrato per la ricerca, Accademia belle arti Tadini Lovere, Bergamo.
Bergamo ITALIA, 1952
Maurizio Bonfanti, son of the painter Angelo Bonfanti, was born in 1952 in Bergamo. He began his artistic education at the Liceo Artistico in Bergamo and attended courses in etching at the "Accademia di Belle Arti", Bergamo. Thereafter Maurizio Bonfanti continued his studies by taking a course in modern literature at the "Un...