Agostino Bonalumi was born on 10 July 1935, in Vimercate, Milan. He studied technical design and mechanics. Bonalumi held his first solo exhibition in 1956 at the Galleria Totti in Milan. In 1958 the Bonalumi, Castellani and Manzoni group emerged with an exhibition at the Galleria Pater in Milan, followed by other exhibitions in Rome, Milan and Lausanne. In 1961 at the Kasper Gallery, Lausanne, he became one of the founders of the 'New European School' group. Arturo Schwarz acquires his works and in 1965 presents a solo exhibition of Bonalumi in his gallery in Milan. In 1966, he began a long period of collaboration with Galleria del Naviglio in Milan, publishing a large monograph edited by Gillo Dorfles in 1973 for Edizioni del Naviglio. In 1966 he was invited to the Venice Biennale with a group of works and in 1970 with a solo room. He then spent a period of study and work in the countries of Mediterranean Africa and in the United States where he debuted a solo show at the Bonino gallery in New York. In 1967 he was invited to the São Paulo Biennial and in 1968 to the Paris Biennale. He created environment-painting works such as, Blu Abitabile (1967), for the exhibition Lo Spazio dell'Immagine, in Foligno; Grande Nero (1968), for a solo exhibition at the Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund and Pittura Ambiente at the Palazzo Reale in Milan the installation Dal giallo al bianco e dal bianco al giallo in which the environment, seen as human activity, was analysed as primary, and therefore psychological activity, also in Ambiente Bianco - Spazio trattenuto e spazio invaso, produced in 2002 for the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice.Read More
In 1980 an extensive exhibition illustrating the entire body of his work was presented by the Lombardy Region, at PalazzoTe di Mantova, with essays by Flavio Caroli and Gillo Dorfles. The National Academy of San Luca awarded Agostino Bonalumi the 'President of the Republic Award' 2001 for sculpture. On this occasion a retrospective exhibition of the artist was presented in the halls of the Academy, accompanied by a monograph edited by Achille Perilli.
He worked in stage design, creating in 1970 sets and costumes for the ballet Partita, for the di Verona, with music by Goffredo Petrassi and choreography by Susanna Egri and in 1972 for the Teatro dell 'Opera di Roma the scenes and costumes of Rot, music by Domenico Guaccero, choreography by Amedeo Amodio.
Bonalumi produced artist's books for Edizioni Colophon, Belluno and for Il Bulino editions, Rome and published collections of poems for the same Colophon, for Book Publisher and for PoliArt Editions. Despite an illness which he had for some time, Bonalumi continued to work diligently, developing his research through his last years. He also completes the production of a cycle of bronze sculptures on projects dating back to the late 60s.
Brussels, Moscow, New York, Singapore are some of the world’s capitals that hosted his solo exhibitions during his final years. In the summer of 2013, he enthusiastically collaborated on the realisation of his seminal solo exhibition in London, the opening of which he unfortunately did not live to see. Agostino Bonalumi died in Monza on 18 September 2013. In 2018, the Palazzo Reale, in Milan, presented the first major retrospective of his work Bonalumi 1958–2013, curated by Marco Meneguzzo.
Text courtesy Mazzoleni.