Year XV - N. 46 - Winter 2004/2005 - pages 34 & 35Cristina Bonucci - Faint traces of existence
Critical text originally published in TitoloCristina Bonucci has been working for quite some time with the shape of the human body - whether it be of a model or her own - and has gradually freed herself of the initial Klein influence to the point of it being markedly abstract, so much so that the anatomical shapes are hard to identify. Here we would like to describe a work by Bonucci which, though it dates back a few years (1999), has never been exhibited or published. It is almost as if the artist preferred to let it "age," a sign of a work that is not afraid of the passing of time (though not much time has passed). The work is serial and is composed of fifteen diptychs - each one however with a life of its own - with a first part in common titled "La morte è lo scheletro" ("Death is the skeleton") with two circles, or holes, next to each other horizontally, and a second part, each one with a different name. What we have in front of us is a complex work, starting from its material composition, which in itself would need a detailed analysis in order to fully understand its meaning: it is a metaphor for life, both in general and on the individual and daily level of the life of the artist herself. In other words it is a self-examination that is able to grasp the meaning of existence for each and every one of us. Death shown as a skeleton is a recurring icon in the history of art but here it is displayed as a verbal statement and not as a repetitive imitation: indeed two symbolic "holes" are represented - death as an endless black hole - which however could also be two zeros, which side by side are the mathematical symbol of infinity, that is, death as the infinite void; they might also however be two eyes, sunken and empty, like those of a skull that "looks" on at life as it moves towards death. So, death, that accompanies man since he is born, as described in a famous poem by Leopardi, accompanies the succession - not pre-established - of the other fifteen diptych elements. These contain marks that cannot always be easily recognized, but we understand that they are traces of the body (usually a shoulder, a leg, the pubis, an arm...): technically we see sparse marks that adhere to the ideal "less is more" of most art of the early 20th century, without however the type of design utopias typical of the originator of the phrase. In terms of content, the marks themselves, in order to achieve a deeper comprehension of the work, must be understood in the context of the titles, which can at times be narrative ("non potete dire niente di me") ("you can say nothing of me"), evocative ("maternità") ("maternity"), descriptive ("sembrano i capelli di un volto invisibile") ("they resemble the hair of an invisible face"), of a trite daily condition ("che palle, fan culo!") ("what a pain, screw this!"), of an existential condition ("la spirale della vita") ("the spiral of life"), conceptually hermetic ("sequenza I") ("I sequence"), and one can continue with "denuncia" ("denunciation"), "l'affermazione di sè" ("self-assertion"), and still more, as well as provide different meanings. The fact remains that these fifteen diptychs are a sort of synchronic autobiography of the artist, though at the same time it shows the human condition, both in its precarious ontological existentiality as well as in several of its moments, which can only represent one of life's (short) sequences. Indeed existence, either before, during or after, is never described with a complete and well-defined image, but is always on the move and constantly changing, and only these marks - from a pencil, a colour, a n. 14 (which the artist prefers to not describe in more precise terms) or of a different medium - are able to represent it. We however know how the reality of the image that is represented does not exist immediately thereafter. It is "different", just as according to the Obscure from Ephesus one cannot step twice into the same river, since the water in the river does not remain still. Nor does the result change if we use a more advanced technique, such as photography or video production. And so if human destiny is precariousness and there is no definitive and complete image of existence, but only uncertain and indefinite marks, the only way for "salvation" is to accept one's condition, with either hope or serene awareness, without giving in to ineffectual illusion or desperate anguish: this is what the diptychs of Cristina Bonucci tell us.
Giorgio Bonomi Editor of Titolo
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