Lines dancing in space. The
Sculptures of Cristina Bonucci
Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and
President of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York
Introducing a man made line into the landscape is all it takes to artistically activate the space. The first creative impulse must have been to erect a column or any vertical sign that, defying gravity, would define the territory, become a landmark and establish the vision of its maker. In a certain way, Cristina Bonucci's latest works respond to the same essential impulse to trigger the sense of space. The monumental sculptures that Cristina Bonucci is preparing for Spoleto take her research on the human body a step further. In her previous works, mainly through painting, Cristina seized the image of her own body on the canvas. The very suggestive prints of the body are reminiscent of Yves Klein's Anthropometries with the distinction that they were carried out by the artist herself in a post feminist affirmative action. In those works, the simplicity of the procedure was complemented by the particular way of presenting them hanging in space. The canvas was not laying flat against a wall but suspended in space in order to be viewed from both sides, each presenting a different image. Despite the flatness of the canvas, Cristina was already introducing them in a sculptural way.
In the same spirit as those paintings, Cristina Bonucci carried out her first performance during the 1998 Spoleto Festival. In the context of the exhibition, Se Son Rose Fioriranno, Bonucci blindfolded and covered with blue paint the body of a nude female dancer. The performer then walked on a large canvas holding a kitten by the lash. The body in movement splashed the canvas, recording as in a profane shroud the traces of the event. The performance introduced a dialogue between the innocence of nature incarnated by the small cat and the erotic forces of creation. The performance was both a very primal and sophisticated act, where painting was both ritualistic and a joyful dance.
The sculptures presented here carry further both experiences; from the early installation of the paintings, they pursue the conquest of space; from the performance, they inherit the dancer's sense of movement.
The sculptures spring into the air from a pyramidal transparent base. At the bottom a sphere anchors the line that rises to suggest a dancing body. The line is intersected by what could be seeing as the arms and crowned by a stylized head. The different inclinations and orientation of the upper part of the sculpture generates a dialogue among the two elements that is accentuated by the viewer's position in space. There is not a vintage point to view the work; as we move around the sculpture, the lines seems to start dancing among them in a choreographed duet. One can only imagine at this stage - having only seen the model and not the actual piece installed in the landscape - that this dance will be even more exiting with the appropriate background of La Rocca and the Umbrian landscape. There could not be a better performing stage for those two sculptures than Spoleto with its millennial cultural tradition.
These monumental sculptures inaugurate a new dimension in Cristina Bonucci's work. They maintain the relation with the body of her previous pieces but without the inherent violence and flame that the former had. Far removed from the expressionist qualities of her past work, this sculptures suggest a harmonious and peaceful relation between nature and art. With the efficient simplicity attained by these two dancing figures Cristina Bonucci is defining a new essential language for herself.
All rights reserved.