Cabaret del niente : Arturo Bonfanti in dialogue with Julius Bissier and Victor Pasmore

27 September - 30 November 2018

Opening September 27, Cabaret del niente, an exhibition dedicated to Arturo Bonfanti, an important protagonist of the post-World War II artistic scene who developed his own unique language within the great Italian tradition. The exhibition puts him into an ideal dialogue with two relevant proponents of the international abstract scene of the late twentieth century, Julius Bissier (Freiburg im Breisgau 1893 - Ascona 1965) and Victor Pasmore (Chelsham 1908 - Malta 1998).


The title of the exhibition is inspired by a work from 1955 by Arturo Bonfanti which demonstrates the artist’s unique style. Born in Bergamo in 1905, Bonfanti passed away exactly forty years ago. Above all, his work possesses a singular "sense of the show" that distinguishes his abstract painting. In fact, in his paintings - especially those of the 1940s and 1950s - it is as if the curtain was opened and an ironic and enigmatic play was staged, with a subtle yet perceptible musical background. Bonfanti on the other hand, also as a son-in-law of the great Milanese actor Edoardo Ferravilla, was familiar with and took part in the international world of performing arts. La chiave di Calandrino, the marionette film for which he won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1954, testifies to how his creativity far surpasses the boundaries of the most orthodox abstraction, and allows us to understand the theatricality of certain compositions with a taste that is both playful and metaphysical.


A fleeting grace and an essential simplicity that manages to be intensely expressive bring together the work of Bonfanti with that of Bissier and Pasmore. Among them there is a dense network of aesthetic references to the insignia of allusiveness, subtlety, and the ability to paint vagueness with extreme and paradoxical precision. An unknown ineffable link joins these three artists who met one another, and became poetically recognized, thanks to the Lorenzelli Arte, giving birth to a partnership that has lasted over time.


On display will be a substantial group of works by Bonfanti ranging from oils on canvas from the 1968 Biennale to Rilievi and Pavatex, the latter neglected by the critics up to now even if of striking contemporaneity. To highlight the mutual creative exchange between the artists, two of the largest paintings ever created by Pasmore (about 4 meters tall) will be exhibited, created and debuted in 1974 for the Museo della Valletta (Malta), and a group of watercolors and oils from the 1950s /1960s by Bissier.


The catalog includes texts by Matteo Lorenzelli and Roberto Borghi, an anthology of interventions by various authors, and a beautiful critical-poetic writing from 1962 that Michel Seuphor dedicated to Bonfanti.