There is a moment, an incalculable and often unexpected trice in some people's life, in which a change happens in a so sudden and so strong way, to influence the following course of a whole life. Perhaps, similar to that which Montale called, in the poetry Fine dell'infanzia1 (End of childhood), as the "violent minute"; the instant in which we realize a decisive inner change by the way we relate both to the outside and to ourselves. It is, therefore, a shift, sometimes cathartic, which implies the passage from a status in which every single moment of the experience is assimilated by the life flow and by the passage of time without leaving traces in the memory and in the sense of judgment, to another one characterized by the action of the categories aimed to problematize and to reelaborate our dialogue with the surrounding, bringing with it, moreover, important existential implications. It is legitimate - in writer's opinion - to believe that Cristina Bonucci's artistic story starts right here, from a feeling as unexpected as intense, stronger than any other thing and, therefore, able to subvert her intimate relationship with all happened after that; always in the sign of art and spirituality. The passage from the bachelor's degree with final thesis, also published, focused on the figure of Bronislaw Malinowski, founder of the social anthropology, to the artistic activity, took place in an uneasy if not even suffered way, due to a personal crisis that involved her in the 1994; year in which she moved to Marina Mahler's house of Spoleto, nephew of the famous composer Gustav and daughter of the sculptor Anna. Here she, thanks to Marina's help too who gave her hospitality to help her during this very difficult period, after days of lonely reflections but also of important and enlightening meetings with characters and representatives of international culture, an unspecified morning of November, suddenly, began to work the clay with unprecedented confidence. From this episode, she never stopped to cultivate the sculptural practice extending then, progressively and in a second time, her interest in drawing, painting, performance, design and graphics. Her first official participation in an exhibition dates back to 1996, in a group show of ceramists in the hometown of Spoleto, entitled Dio, non dei (God, not gods). In this circumstance, the young artist decided to deal with the story of Salvation, perhaps because, in that segment of her human journey, she felt this theme of extraordinary closeness. Part of the artworks here exhibited, such as Illuminazione (Lighting) and Oltre c'è solo la vita e il silenzio (Beyond there is only life and silence), developed from the archetypal form of the Star of David resolved in the shades of gold and white, marked, however, by an additional small triangle in the center representing, symbolically, the Trinity and which, progressively, prevailed in the overall formal structure of the works. Others, instead, sank their reasons in ancient Egyptian mythology and religion, presenting phallic forms attributable to the figure of the god Min2 that held up a shelf structuring, in this way, a table or altar. After this first exhibition, the artist began to work with greater clarity of her communicative intentions and aesthetic purposes. What, suddenly, had arisen as an unexpected but necessary and spontaneous action of resilience in reaction to a moment of difficulty, the art making, is now being revealed, to the author's conscience, like a practice that, having come as a real vocation, she would never have been able to abandon. Since 1998 she has been working focusing on the study of anatomy, generating a cycle of achievements that can be denoted both by visual and emotional feedback; Impronte (Imprints). They born after a long period of intellectual gestation and depth analysis regarding the work of Yves Klein, author by her highly esteemed and to whom she dedicated the performace Omaggio a Yves Klein (Homage to Yves Klein), happened in the same year on the occasion of the group show Se son rose fioriranno, (If they are roses they will bloom) curated by Julian Zugazagoitia. In fact, from their analysis, we can well glimpse an ideal stylistic genealogy, delineating them as plausible filiation, with the Anthropometries of the artist of Nice who with Umbria region, having been a devotee of Saint Rita from Cascia, had a such particular bond to go there once to leave an Ex-voto still preserved in the Basilica dedicated to the "Saint of the impossible". The Imprints, however, differently from the aforesaid Klein's series that has a performative nature and with which, nevertheless, they share a graphic representation sometimes similar, are originated from a decidedly more mediated process - this is here a determining factor - reaching complementary outcomes. From Cristina Bonucci's interpretation, emerges a much less impetuous and physical reading than that one of the French artist. She outlines a more delicate, tenuous and tending to abstraction paraphrase, in which color becomes evanescent and osmotic, in an attempt to grasp the impermanence of the human presence considered not as a bodily entity but, contrarily, like an indefinite trace portrayed in the act of transcending, of sublimating itself. To dominate, in this square of solicitations, is a sense of enigmatic rarefaction. The following year, this family of artworks caught Zugazagoitia's attention, in that period director of the Festival dei Due Mondi of Spoleto (for three consecutive years) and, at the same time, curator of the visual arts department of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, later, director of the Barrio Museum and, nowdays, of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. He was so positively smitten by the Impronte cycle that he followed the artist for a period of her activity and invited her to the United States. Invitation that she declined for personal reasons. Also Giorgio Bonomi, contemporary art critic and director of the specialized magazine Titolo, manifested interest in regards to her Impronte editing the special Labili tracce d'esistenza (Fleeting existence traces) and curating a solo show with the same title and focused on this series in Torgiano. As well as Sanjay Tikku, philosopher trained in Cambridge, Phd at Harvard and, currently, teacher at the University of Hong Kong, became passionate about this cycle and curated, in 2000, her solo show Opere (Artworks) also writing the critic text, Il corpo Di-Spiegato (The Body De-Ployed). In the meanwhile, the artist continues to experiment the sculpture arriving, in the same year, to conceive and to create her first large sculpture designed for an open environment; the viewpoint of the Spoleto Fortress. This is Componente del 2 (Element of 2), a work based on the contrast between the solid geometry of the underlying part, albeit mitigated by the transparency of the lexan, and the levity, but not without tension, of the upper one and that tells about the end of a love story. The experimentation in the sculptural field does not end here but continues with Raccolta davanti a te (sitting in front of you), a monumental sculpture designed for the Mandarini green area of Torgiano and inaugurated in 2006 after a preparatory study made of sketches, projects and models that lasted about three years. The artwork tells about the gradual detachment of the artist from the male figure that, positioned at a dizzying height and obtained by full shapes, communicates an anxious sense of imminence deriving from the contrast with the threadlike parts that support them. As well as the previous one, also this artwork is distinguishable for the predominance of slender and upward morphologies. Looking for a common semiotic aspect shared by these two sculptures, it is recognizable in the author's insistence on the close comparison between contrasting forces, synthesized by unstable reciprocity played on the imbalances generated by gravity, physicality, lightness and material. In parallel, also the activity of drawing and painting proceeds, reaching evocative outcomes. The management and the opening, from 2008 to 2012, of the art and iconography studio Spoleto Galleria, allows us to understand how much the sensitivity towards the ancient and the themes belonging to the sphere of the sacred – already lucidly detectable since her beginnings – had a substantial centrality for her. This predisposition can be identified in the reproduction, using the traditional Byzantine technique, of icons and artworks with religious subject from the aura, at times, oriental, paleochristian in others and, in others still, of the fifteenth century. This group includes paintings created using ancient materials and inspired by La Santissima Trinità and La Vergine della Tenerezza by the great Russian iconographer Andrej Rublëv, as well as the local La Natività by Filippo Lippi and La Santissima Icona, both visible inside the Cathedral of Spoleto. It is part of the same creative inclination, allowing us to understand how, in her experience, the role of the artist goes, in certain situations, hand in hand with her way of living the sense of mystic, even the drawing on wood of the crucifix of Christus Triumphans, inspired by the original by Alberto Sotio, preserved in the city Cathedral. Some of these artworks, originated both from the intention to experiment a stylistic research on the visual culture of the past and from a devotional push, together with other elaborations of those years, were the object of the exhibition Ikonen, Zeichnungen und Skulpturen (Icons, Drawings and Sculptures), held in 2009 in the German city of Schwetzingen inside the Catholic church of Saint Pancrazio. An artistic practice with such ethereal contents as the one just described, is accompained, as if to confirm the already intuited author's polymorphous creativity, by pencil self-portraits on paper, made during the early years of the 2000s, characterized by a nervous, restless and fast gestures, extremely communicative and direct in the language that exude, resorting to very few but incisive elements, the anguished author's state of mind in the period of their execution. Drawings like these, perhaps, represented the unavoidable passage to arrive, through the key of art, to something bigger that could drive away, forever, the ghosts of the past. In the same location, the artist explores the territories of design and applied arts, creating refined furnishing objects - real little sculptures - lamps in semi-refractory earth, table set, chairs and tables in finely worked iron. In 2013, with Lo studiolo dell'artista: luogo d'incontro (the artist's studio: meeting place), Cristina Bonucci confronts herself with sculpture in interior space, delineating a most collected, ordered and measured relationship with it. The work, hosted in numerous museums, consists of four columns in white refractory earth, graphite and acrylics resting on wooden bases. Being habitable and having variable dimensions, it is perfectly comparable to an installation. Moreover, precisely because of this factor and as if the artwork was born to be lived, it also worked the stage for her three performances Preparate la via del Signore (Prepare the way of the Lord), Mi chiamo Cristina Matilde Maria Rita...e tu? (My name is Cristina Matilde Maria Rita ...and you?) and Il nostro Dio e il vostro sono lo stesso Dio (Our God and yours are the same God), then merged into the art video Trilogia (Trilogy). Presented in preview in 2015 at the Festival dei Due Mondi to then be repeated, in the following year, in the Church-Museum of San Francesco in Montone during the Umbria Film Festival and, in 2017, at the Marini Clarelli Santi Foundation in Perugia on the occasion of a solo show curated by Cecilia Metelli, the video intends to find reasons of thinking for a possible dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims, recalling the sacred texts of the three most widespread religions in the world. For the topic and the way it has been investigated, the video was the pretext to organize a series of meetings in order to analyze this issue with greater precision. To highlight the urgency and the burning relevance of the chosen thematic, it is useful remember that, just four months after the first presentation, the tragic terrorist attacks at the Bataclan in Paris happened. The three sculptures of the A Kengo Kuma (To Kengo Kuma) group, made in 2016 and dedicated to the famous Japanese architect, are aimed to celebrate the friendship between Italy and Japan. They also, from December of the same year, before being acquired by the museum of Palazzo Collicola to enrich its permanent collection, were exhibited there with a project curated by Gianluca Marziani; at the time director of the institution. In the first work, the religions of the two nations - Catholicism, Shintoism and Buddhism - are compared, specularly, inside a small typical Japanese architecture and are identified by the respective symbols. In the second one, as if to switch from the sacred to the laic, we find, inserted inside a pagoda, the three main state offices of the two countries. The third, focused on the primeval energies of nature, hosts images of aurora, sunset and night as if to give an ancestral and timeless dimension to all the artwork. Finally, the three pieces, almost to underline an even more atavistic genealogical commonality, are ideally united by the use of basic geometric shapes like the square, the circle and the triangle. As immediately deducible, it is easy to realize, from the reading of the artist's experience, the way in which her path has followed a plurality of both technical and disciplinary addresses. This attitude has profiled, in the overall view of the aesthetic outcomes, a rather articulated possibility of reading with both horizontal breadth, therefore relative to the diversity of the adopted executive means, and vertical depth, therefore concerning the specific study dedicated for each expressive solution and the thematic variation. All, is often explored by artist with a dialectical approach, therefore showing the purpose to define a synthesis between thesis and antithesis. However, identifying a constant effectively capable of combining so heterogeneous aspects it, subliminally, can be recognized in the discreet search for a point of congruence where unity and difference fade over one another until their assimilation. This can be found, in fact, both in the outdoor sculptures, where the large dimensions allow to understand the aforementioned balance of conflicting impulses, and in the decision of considering the monotheisms, although respecting the specificities of each, as various aspects of a same truth, and in celebrating the communion between different and distant cultures like the Italian and the Japanese ones. Reached the impassable wall of the present and the ridge of these 25 years of activity, that has seen the succession of phases of great success with others not certainly simple, it seems reasonable to say – according to the writer – that the choice to make a check on her work corresponds to the idea to hypothesize a balance and sign a perimeter but, even more, to the need to overcome it. All, in order to continue to look towards the horizon of the future with faith and, above all, with the ability of renovation that, as can be seen both from the examples of her work and from her biography, has constantly distinguished Cristina Bonucci's human and artistic figure. All, weighed within an existential boundary where art and life, after having run after each other in various situations, have reached a point of overlapping, perhaps inextricably.1 Cfr: EUGENIO MONTALE, Fine dell'infanzia, in, Ossi di Seppia, Gobetti Editions, Turin, 1925.
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