Critical recognition, august 2013 - Riedizione del 06.09.2013

“The world of the things that are … and the other world of the things that appear. The latter are so much more interesting: they cling to the dark interiors.”
(Luigi Meneghello)

Recognition as exploration and identification.

Recent operative reality, also going back several decades, has been based (as usual, fairly speciously) on the investigation and detection of a presumed ambiguity of expression, in other words, an expression that is essentially metalinguistic. This produces an operation that tends primarily to release semiotic energies, particularly in cases where they are difficult to control. As a result, we have the creation of cognitive domains such as appearance and simulation that lend themselves to the development of features that are often incongruous and incoherent. The displayed image becomes a reference to a real event (the subject represented) that may or must be a false image or semblance designed to hide the true or significant pretext, or the fiction or simulation, or the mirage or illusion. Equally, it could be a pointer to unexpected discoveries in unknown territories, that is to say, images, signs, elements that have no history and no future, where the term simulacrum is the appropriate way to define the evidence of an event of specious origin, even by means of some random vehicle, in other words appearances or inventions remote from effective reality. Transgressive intentions of the mind, hovering over the territories of doubt, like the metalinguistic attitude of the accidents of nature and invention. Subjectification / objectification of a semiotic form that draws on the irrational and the unconscious, realized in the form of transfigured representations that progressively deepen unexpressed meanings, including the practice of alienation. The thin blurred line between reality and representation, between form and simulation, and between permanence and transience, suggesting elusive and indefinable unease. Subverting expectations by creating dis-connections. Simulacra.

In the creation of signs and forms, there are often unpredictable and unexpressed visual allegories. They are such not only according to the intuition of the observer, but in particular because of his imaginative involvement: a field of invention for interpreting a reality that can / should be accepted as other, but which is in fact the same. (There is a certain analogy with the theatre, where the audience is given a paraphrastic account of reality whose function is to present "reality" by being superimposed on the real and the interpretation of the real to form something unique. Hence the impossibility of being certain as to what is reality, what is true, what is fiction – the simulacrum. The disquieting doubt belongs to the spectator and not to the artist, who knows that all forms of representation are individual and unique in that they are truth and fiction, simulation, etc.). Finally the artist (a tightrope walker) must even ask the (somewhat unnecessary) question which is preferable: real or manipulated reality. For his world, which has nothing spontaneous about it, is not unexpected even in the presence of an enigma, which takes away our good faith. That is to say, the subject, the form, the sign are obviously representations of themselves.

Again: combining elements devoid of logical links and searching for images which are often characterized by unexpected poetic intensity.

Pier Giulio Bonifacio


This exhibition aims to offer an albeit incomplete documentation of the progress of your art, which has very recently ventured into a territory you’ve never explored before, collage. Let’s start from here. What impulse drove you to use this technique and to adopt a new statute of contamination and compositional collision? How should your intervention, almost always present, be interpreted?

I start from a pretext, often a figurative one, for example published image, and intervene on it, perhaps with a sign; then my exploration starts. I have to get into the subject, find a sense and build and maintain a composition. They are rather enigmatic, indeed rather ambiguous, operation emblematic of my investigative approach. You ask me about the black bands, only in limited cases other colours. It’s above all a compositional element, an exemplary use of colour by which the collage actually takes on a certain pictorial character. Clearly however, because the patches, which often also become streaks, are usually black, they express the incomprehensibility and illegibility of the context they participate in. Perhaps signs and signals; markers of states of doubt, uncertainty, insecurity.

In your work you’ve pursued a geometric type of investigation, focussed on the structure and tectonics of painting, and supported by a restricted colour scheme; at the same time you’ve widely explored signs and graphism. This is why it’s difficult to pin any reassuring historical/critical labels on you, and why we experience stimulating disorientation when faced with your aesthetic conception. I’d like to ask you to classify your polyphonic expressiveness yourself.

I’ve always rejected the view whereby an artist’s work over the years reveals a trademark by which if is possible to identify it as being of that particular artist, especially as regards the language. I’ve also deliberately avoided working in order to please, in order to be pleasantly interesting with at least an inviting use of colour, probably good for all seasons. Instead I preferred to adopt in those years one single colour, grey in all its shades since my particular experimentation focussed on signs, forms and structures, so much so that I lost interest in colour, except in rare circumstances. But colour, in all its applications I’d say, was not only present but fundamental, albeit with a different purpose, in the substantial personal expressiveness of the greys.

Your work and your person reverberate with the dense sedimentation of your knowledge and your studies in the visual arts and other disciplines, from oriental philosophy to music. How do these insinuate themselves into your concept of figuration and remain absorbed in it?

You’re asking me what my personal (system of) thought originates from, hence also my type of creativity or kind of work, made up of subtle balances which are often barely hinted at. I always have in my mind the things I’ve learnt from fundamental art studies and most of all from music, to be exact from my constant listening to historical and contemporary chamber music. Some time ago I read the following words, which refer to the important ways of japanese art and craft: “wabi, sabi, suki”, that is “quiet simplicity, veneer of time, subtle elegance”. We need only think of a figure like Jun’ichir Tanizaki or an important musician like Toshìo Hosokawa, recalling that in his 2nd quartet this composer indicates some passages involving numerous white surfaces and gaps which he calls MA: this monosyllable alludes to that instant in which phenomenal reality and the absolute void unite, and it invites us to attribute the same importance to the white spaces in his musical score as we give to the notes. It is the idea of the absolute void, which in Zen Buddhism expresses the reflection of the concept of vacuity looming over every mental effort and every action.

Your production is quite prolific: thousands of works in small and large formats, with a clear preference for the paper support. Many artists claim their work is a necessity and that it is the response to a vital daily impulse. I’d like to ask you how you approach the sheet of paper or blank canvas; what’s your idea of a work?

You’re telling me you’re interested in knowing how I approach a sheet of paper or other kinds of support when I decide to work.
The work is self-generating because that’s how it should be. You just have do know how to wait for the intervention of Kairos, that propitious moment which suddenly breaks upon you. The episodes and, generally, the states of creative activity, are random, temporary, not obeying any rules, and the circumstances which involve us are unknown. So I choose to adopt Braque’s definition, “I love the rule which corrects the emotion”, not only because it fits in so closely with my own feeling. It seems to me perfect.

Despite the very substantial ideas underlying your work, the concept of the vacuum has often been applied to your work. Can you define this cardinal aspect of your art? And finally, abstraction, your exclusive option if we exclude those ambiguous fragments of reality which creep into your collages: what’s your position regarding the wide-reaching, diversified an iconic climate of contemporary art?

I’ve always studied, and it’s been hard work, because I’ve had to read and learn about the vacuum. A vacuum which is also however often dense, compact matter. What I’d call an invisible labour, hence the work of an invisible artist, because it has more or less always consisted of ideas, which in rotation have become images, and sometimes very restricted inventions, and all kinds of allusion. Everything consist of fine lines, dots, even geometrically shameless projects; and then everything shut up in a room of some historical building in this town which is as historically significant as it is artistically outcast; sometimes suffocated by silence, sometimes first flattered, encouraged and then ensnared by the music of the beloved killer quartets.
I was, I am, so abstract also because o a painful and deliberately insignificant profundity, in the presence of an intellectual obsession which in some respects is almost mystical, and; which portrays, defines a particular non-objective world; where the unease which permeates (my) existence takes shape. The pencil, or maybe the brush: a point which etches the compactness and complexity of gnosis.
That is, idea as spasm, a perception of decomposition in signs, of a pantheon of incoherence, of a bilge of various as yet unexpressed possibilities. Defining that single point where the sign ad the vacuum, in becoming absence, reveal the supreme presence; where in the “unveiled nothingness”(we can’t help but think of Malevich) we reach beyond reality in order to focus on what transcends it.
The relationship between signs and the surrounding space creates the composition: a harmony of rhythms which are generated in the space of the work in the same way as a musical phrase is generated in “time”.
Abstraction as a celebration of form and a search for truth, for its deep sources, in its purest form, which is unembellished asceticism. Which represents the nihilist renunciation, the denial of everything and the comviction that in this nothingness (or nihil) lies the truth. Meanwhile the obstacle persists, and it is none other than the ineffable, inexpressible, irrepressible core of art, the “nothingness”which generates everything. Art as allusion, metaphor, folly.

Eleonora Acerbi, 2012 (translated by Susan Charlton)

(From the catalogue of solo exhibition at CAMeC museum in La Spezia.)


It is a great plesaure to take the reader on a journey through Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s painting. However, this journey does not claim to show his work step but seeks rather to introduce some of its salient phases, going on to focus on very recent works. So nothing exhaustive, just one of the many possible approaches that his artistic career suggests, given a diligence that not only has never faltered over the years but has led him to achieve a freedom of expression through an apparently antinomian constant. Let me explain: in creating his paintings Bonifacio loves to deploy a formal simplification that on the one hand constructs images or betray and absolute rigour of relations and on the other releases deliberately uncontrolled incongruous semiotic energies. The former mode is the result of his training in architecture and chamber music, a habit deeply rooted in his way of engaging with the work process, while the latter comes from the analysis he makes of his work and in some ways from the need to free himself from the severity of the project understood as a overriding categorical imperative. Underlying the present outcome of his work, therefore, we find the polarities of non-figurative alphabets co-existing peacefully or, rather, we find the mind’s constant desire to break free from everything that is regarded as useful and established, predictable and proper.

If we wanted to talk in familiar categories, it would seem that the informel not disdain minimalism, that the rhythmic geometry of essentiality goes hand in hand with uncontrolled gesturality. In actual fact, the interrelations are more complex and are connected to the lucidity of Bonifacio’s critical thinking, since for a long time the artist has been exploring the territories of doubt, delicate balance, incoherence, as parts that are consubstantial with the sphere of creativity being monitored. By “monitor” I mean the heightened awareness of how mental mechanisms act un the creative process: from intuitive flashes – which have settled in the daily exercise of intuition – to the stages of compositional elaboration – which has also settled as a result of constant exercise. With the severity of his early career happily behind him, Bonifacio now enjoys visualising the mental structures that seduce him from moment to moment, experimenting not only with forms, colours, canvases, paper, but also with the collages that in recent years he has approached with a metalinguistic attitude.

His starting points – the rigour of the design concept and the principle of formal reduction – connect up with the values of abandonment, the acceptance of imperfection and the unexpected, acquired over long years of experimental work n art and the experience of life. The architect in him has given way to a complete homo faber, released from a rigour that was in some ways an incumbensy. For Bonifacio painting represents a liberating force that accepts contradiction and makes it part of the process of creativity, espousing the quintessence of human nature in its full complexity. Meneguzzo is right when he observes that Bonifacio has become aware of the “non-necessity of narrative” within the work, “because the pleasure of painting has prevailed over the anxiety of narrative”. The sense of incongruity opens its arms to the absolute.

Marzia Ratti, 2012 (translated by Susan Charlton)

(From the catalogue of solo exhibition at CAMeC museum in La Spezia.)

Alberto Veca

These notes presuppose some knowledge on the part of the reader of the artist’s previous research, and in some way they represent an attempt to bring the reader up to date. Limits of space permit me to enter into the subject in medias res and without any particular preambles because one can take for certain the choice of figurativeness at its most elementary level, where there is more likely to be an interest in construction, in a space/place where the elements in the work correspond to each other and where figures that were once bound to the plane can also suggest elevation.

There is an unmistakable and explicit reference to, on the one hand, architecture and, on the other, drawing – namely what the critical tradition has handed down to us as the “origin” of all the figurative arts. Imagining a drawn space has always been a question of transposing a project in which the individual changes from being a spectator into an actor in relation to the voids and solids. In this way the figure becomes an open “perimeter”, in a clearly modular approach that is allusive and always incomplete.

Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s recent work seems once again to call into question, at least in part, his previous acquisitions – the certainty of boundaries and limits, and the neutral exactitude of the background – with the appropriate spirit of enquiry of someone who starts not from axioms but from continuous experimentation.

There is another new element that needs to be highlighted: especially in his drawings Bonifacio seems now to favour a “point of view” from which to observe the depicted scene. He offers both a “plane” and an “elevation” in a way that is ambiguous because the reading of depth may be reversed in an exercise involving dissimilar “figures on the plane” which calls into question the categorical exclusion of three-dimensional illusion on the surface of the painting.

A further factor, which we have already briefly hinted at, is the different way in which Bonifacio identifies his figures and the field into which they are placed: the background takes on an – albeit limited – material quality. What was previously monochrome gives way to an impasto where the background colour is “interrupted” by fragments, streaks, tense “islands” of various colours. Likewise the same procedure of calling certainties into question affects the physiognomy of the lines of the figure; they are no longer uniform but subjected to an investigation that can involve erasure as well as uncertain, even allusive, conflicts – and even go as far as full manifestation.

Alberto Veca (translated by lan Harvey)

(September 2007)

Anna Zanco Prestel - “NOTHING TO DECLARE N° 3”

In search of Pier Giulio Bonifacio “Abstract art,” writes Herbert Rosendorfer, is “difficult to love” because it frequently “falls into the decorative” while “at the same time, far too often it becomes entangled in ‘the ideological’”.

The work of art comes into being in that “happy medium” that marks the “borderline between the abstract (things behind things) and abstraction (the act of detaching or freeing oneself, above and beyond things, without betraying them).”

This exhibition offers an excellent occasion for asking whether Pier Giulio Bonifacio has managed to find in his work the “happy medium” that the Romans called “aurea mediocritas”: a concept that has nothing to do with the idea of mediocrity but is rather synonymous with superior harmony, a knowing balance on the path to perfection.

In my view, this Ligurian painter, who nonchalantly shows off the vast and profound knowledge of a “Renaissance Man”, has come surprisingly close to this concept. If it is undeniable that “ideology” – the philosophical framework that is so important to Bonifacio – is and remains for him the pillar of his art, it is equally true that the decorative element, in other words, their aesthetic appeal, is to be found in paintings that are ever more laconic and sober, in an elegance that gushes from the harmony of signs, from the joint play of dissonances, and becomes perceptible even to the eyes of the uninitiated – without ever falling into banality.

Like Braque, Bonifacio seems to “love the rule” that banishes emotion. His colours are monotone variations along a slowly nuanced scale of grey, in a continuous glissade that runs up and down between dark and light tones.

The quarrel between black and white is almost a reminiscence, recalling as it does the black-and-white facades of the renaissance buildings of his home city, Genoa. He has been called a “neo-classicist of abstract painting” for his ability to develop his élan vital only within formally well-defined structures, returning then to experience within them the void as a condition of the spirit.

To put it in the words of the German conceptual artist Gerhard Merz, Bonifacio is “a burnt-out classicist, an agnostic who has run out of desires, whose art only has room for ‘cold constructions’, because the heavens are empty and God has other things to do than worry about mankind.”

Only in his more recent works, starting from 1995, does colour impose its presence. This is why he is an enthusiast of classical music with a particular fondness for chamber music and above all a preference for Bach and atonal composers, with a particular affinity for Bartok, who has been called a “lunar composer, glacial and rich in contrasts”, and whose work is “a triumph of polyphony” (Viana Conti). What can we say about the provocative and aggressive monochrome backgrounds that address us so directly from the canvases here on display? Do they leave us almost shocked?

According to Bonifacio, the monochrome backgrounds are the expression of a “state of grace”. They are the representation of the existential ground/background from which his work develops. Ground, backgrounds, chasms as mirrors of the intimate, hidden, mysterious reservoir of his self which in its immobility is on the point of exploding or imploding. The absurdity of the shades of colour – pink, turquoise, deep yellow – point to completely invented colours that are purely mental in origin. In other words, they are functions/inventions, cogitations that incarnate the void, the vacuum, the contradictory sense of human existence. They are at one and the same time a manifestation of the eternal and of the mythological symbiosis between life and death, love and death, hope and despair, immanence and transcendence.

Anna Zanco Prestel – 1999.

(da presentazione mostra personale allo Schloss Offenberg, Degendorf, settembre 1999.)


After moving away from a baroque stylistics, whose folds and shadows, he would acknowledge, have overwhelmed him disturbingly, Bonifacio lets himself be permeated by a romantic feeling by elaborating a neoclassical language. In the work, poetry, architecture and music combine in chords that are perceptible on several levels, just as they speak their respective languages on several levels.

The formal elements of the works on display are part of a meta-geometry that is re-thought in unusual structural and chromatic variations designed to appear in a place other than the painting, referring precisely to that elsewhere where sounds, words and figures sing, write and embody the values of silence and the void. His one-metre square canvases – unfurled flags of a country that doesn’t exist, fields in a heraldry of undreamed-of coats-of-arms – portray clearly delineated shadows of presences that do not appear.

Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s artistic path has followed a totally European formal and conceptual evolution. By the early 1990s, having completed his experiments in chromatic minimalism in shades of grey between the vertices of black and white, he went on to take on the lyricism of vivid colours against monochromatic backgrounds. These are the mental landscapes of this Ligurian artist, where hazardous spatial effects result from the flat representation of quantities of paint transformed into the quality of form.

Viana Conti, 1997

(by catalogue introduction of the exhibition at Pal. Rocca, Chiavari)

Alberto Veca

The attempt to define a margin, a threshold that can on the one hand present itself as a rich and meaningful figure and on the other function as a matrix, a formative architectural sign – this seems to be the thread that runs through Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s “pages”, a series of notes that build up gradually

Bonifacio does not paint figures on an empty, lifeless ground; his drawing of fragments – at times playing with a two-dimensional effect, at times (in his more recent works) capable of alluding to ambiguous perspectives and certain empty and full volumes, to overhangs and withdrawals, to perceptually ambiguous projections – is determined by the manipulation of a pictorial surface that is always on the move, constantly inquisitive and called into question in its most elementary forms.

Highlighting casualty created figures, making them leading players, saving them from any possible fate as mere extras – this seems to be one of the expressive sites which Bonifacio visits.

If in the eighties and early nineties his work was characterised by monochromatic shades of grey constantly contradicted by the appearance of traces, underlying chromatic shadows that dominated the basic surface from which emerged figural strips of flesh, now the surface can be structured using different pigments to accentuate the dialectic between the fundamental elements of the creation of images – and this is the dialogue that I have tried to interpret amidst the folds of his work.

Alberto Veca (translated by Ian Harvey)

(january 1997)

Marisa Vescovo

Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s current works – which follow on from those produced in the period from 1953 co 1986 and published in the monograph together with texts by Viana Conti and Marco Meneguzzo – are intimations that the massive bombardment of serial rhythms to which our perceptual faculties are exposed neither excludes nor prevents the simple psychological processes of spatio-temporal development, the accumulation of experience or the search for qualitative rather than quantitative values.

Now, however, the artist has started to split the surface into two levels: the plane of the known and the plane of the unknown. He explores the possibility of the co-existence of two zones; one calm and soft, the other fluid and tense. In other words, what he is doing is making a proposal of formal totality. The underlying thought, however, is still that of reconciling two eternal principles: the shared level and emergence, or, in other words, being and existence.

In their progression through space each of these “drawn” or “traced” forms reiterates the rhythms of a “tale” which speaks of man’s interior dimension, that world of impulses and sediments that lie at the very heart of us all: in sum, the sharp stimulus to find in art the precise transcription of a mental act.

The surface events are forms, but also sounds; one is aware of an openness on the pan of the artist not only to chance external sounds, hit also to those sounds that are sediments left by constant exposure to “serious music” The sound-sign is an event, it is an “aletheia” (truth).

In the last works the void becomes the initial setting for each new enterprise, that is, “the world that ought to he”, or to put it another way, the great ethical-aesthetic link which has yet to come into being. But the void is also the enigma which interposes itself in the communication between individuals. Bonifacio’s work makes us”feel” that mysterious residue which lies between the sum total of our existence and our reason.

Marisa Vescovo (translated by lan Harvey)

(january 1997)

Viana Conti

Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s long experience of the void as a mental condition and as a space for events which are minimalist on the plane of representation but momentous on that of emotion, enables him now to re-appropriate expression through colour. At this stage in his long investigation into abstraction, the linguistic radicality of his work is no longer reduced to the monotone values of grey but grapples resolutely with the relational complexity of the colour spectrum.

Even in the absence of naturalistic reference, the artist cannot elude the retinal and aesthetic stimuli generated by the change in environment. Even a simple change of studio can modify, not only internally, sensations and reasons for working. In musical terms, his monotone register has become polyphonic. We no longer listen to a single voice speaking but to a choral sonority; there is no longer a single plane which defines the compositional structure but rather a stratigraphy of levels. His last formal structures, still marked by a declension of grey tones, in some respects already foreshadowed the need to organize rather than modulate the planes of the painting, Prisms and sharp edges have now taken space away from the rough and troubled edges of the painting, just as rich, sun-filled vision has placed at a distance the “Nordic climate” of the composition.

These borderline geometries, between form and non-form, colour and non-colour, totality and fragment, single plane and virtual three-dimensionality, have acquired a complexity which is less disturbing on the plane of consciousness and more resonant on the plane of harmony.

Viana Conti (translated by Ian Harvey)

(june 1995)

Sandro Ricaldone

At the beginning of the 50s the Italian painting scene, split as it was into various groups each adhering to a different poetics, offered a great variety of options in the non-figurative mode alone (an approach which as a whole met with the strong opposition of the neo-realists with their ideological emphasis on content). At times these options were tried out in a spirit of still ingenuous enthusiasm (as can be seen in the post-cubist abstraction originally practised by the young Romans of “Forma 1? or in the informal explosion of the Milanese “nucleari”); at other times, however, they were adopted with schema tic rigour, as by the neo-concrete artists who were members of M.A.C. They were either practised with the impulse of an immediately acquired maturity (as can he seen in Burri’s highly palpable works) or accompanied by the aspiration – advocated by Fontana and the “Spazialisti”- to trascend the limits of the painting. It was in this context – one that he got to know directly as a result of his contact with both the art scenes of Turin and Milan (also because of his architectural studies) and the cosmopolitan melting pot of Albisola – that Pier Giulio Bonifacio approached the practical business of painting.

It is easy to see how the reflective and, one could almost say, organizational implications which make painting, in Bonifacio’s words, “an instrument of thought”, are not merely the result of a cold calculation of values and interaction of forms. Behind the “severity of the image” pointed out by Angelo Savelli there is in fact an acute sensibility for the germinal component of the sign. Thus in Bonifacio’s work order does not present itself as a deduction from an a priori proposition but as a humpy and interminable process.

Bearing witness to this inclination of his the asymmetry’ and persistent rejection of rectangularity (there is evidence of this even in his minimalist orientated pieces – large monochrome outlines, with geometrically oblique, shapes – produced between 1980 and 1981); it can even be seen in his more restrained recent works, where there is a radical reduction of the range of colours, limited to greys and blacks, whites and reds, and where the application of colour is in places rarefied, showing up, in line with a carefully controlled use of the accidental, the vibration of the background. Or, again, there is the imperceptible irregularity, the slight extending beyond the margins of some linear elements, defined by blocking out the surrounding space; this method of placing in order to take away in a certain way allows the artist to “construct a void in painting” (Conti).

Fissures, wedges, broken lines (those hooks one often comes across in his paintings) are elevated to the status of emblems, reflecting in their elementary geometric presence the figure of a subtle join between soul and precision, between the universal and the particular.

Sandro Ricaldone (translated by Ian Harvey)

(april 1994)

Sandro Ricaldone - “Strade”

(…) In Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s work there is an acute tension between the drive towards order and formal stability, which produces the integration of the sign into a rigorously structural schema, and the urge to register the interior event allusively, without mediation through rationality. This tension, however, is not a reflection of the irreducible antagonism of geometry and chaos; underlying it rather is the will to follow the trajectory of the sign from one extreme to the other, from the inchoate moment that comes from the suggestive flow of the gesture to the conclusive resolution in a “scale of absolute relations: rhythms of quantity between black and white arranged on the level of the surface with utmost balance”.

What Bonifacio is trying out – in a dimension that Angleo Savelli has called the “severity of the image” (and which is more of an ethical trait than a mere stylistic option) – is not so much a break with the abstract-geometrical canon as its extreme dilation [...] where more meditative and vibrant moments find space next to moments of pressing energetic and structural concentration, drafts in which concise spirals uncoil towards the enigmatic depth that lies “beyond the coloured semblances of life”.

Sandro Ricaldone - 1991

(dal catalogo delle mostre “Strade” alla Kunst Haus di Nürnberg e a quella di Dortmund, anno 1991)


A serene individual search, torn away from any intention of immediate collation and bent on the tracks of a quite personal rhythm risks, not only not to be acknowledged but, considering the catalogued way with which nowadays art is looked at, to be even excluded from the sphere of the existing. Pier Giulio Bonifacio has awarily accepted this risk, aristocratically choosing to go his own ways, rather than going again along too much followed ones.

(…) It is doubtless, for instance, that Bonifacio is now, and has always been, concerned with painting, from the bounds of which he did not want to come out, not even during those years when that appeared to be compulsory: nevertheless, also from the interior of his quite disciplinary painting, subtle restlessnesses are noticed and also imperceptible transition, as though the artist wanted new ways to demonstrate there the perfect self sufficiency of painting, as opposed to a scenographic and theatrical “elsewhere”, sometimes affectedly spread in the surrounding settings. It is in this period – at the beginning of the eighties – that the “drying up” in Bonifcio’s pictures came about, together with the coagulating of simple structures, whose recallings to minimalism appear outstanding.

(…) If apparently the latest works are recalling those of the beginning, in fact they stray from them just for their “lack of constraint” in sign, colour and drafting, not bound any more to a constructive setting of a narrative kind; this achieved freedom is the freedom of painting, and it is also its vastness, dangerous though sometimes, but so much the more enticing.

Marco Meneguzzo, Milan 16 april 1986. (translated by Giuseppe Castellari)

(da una recente monografia dell'artista).

Germano Beringheli - Solo exibition at Galleria Arte Centro

(…) In the teeth of consequential logic, Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s drawings and paintings, with their evident tendency towards the painted image as physical presence, as stylist code, demand our complete attention. And they to do , I think, because they touch the mythical threshold of minimum tangibility, albeit without intransitive analytic contextuality (…) managing to completely rise above and arid adherence to a fixation that is essentially the fixation of culture and the psychological condition.

(…) If it is true that the justification for art lies in its dilation of experience, one must naturally point out the adroitness of the cognitive enrichment in Bonifacio’s paintings, which moves towards the perceptible world and results as much from the elementary minimum of the linguistic system that shapes it as from certain pictorial and semiotic epiphanies that still yearn to become representation.

Germano Beringheli, 1978.

(Da presentazione per mostra personale alla Galleria Arte Centro, Milan, 1978)

Germano Beringheli - Project and Memory

Pier Giulio Bonifacio’s painting is quiet and subdued, sustained by the schematic textuality of a subject that is guided towards a pure spatial dimension in which the perceptible and de-materialized world of transparency plays the leading role. Objects, places and moments are represented along an imaginary intermediary axis as part of a graphic layout that is almost an orthogonal projection, according to a completely invented design, together with a mode of depiction that acquires its own more highly poetic identity in the transfiguration of signs and tones.

One is reminded of Lyonel Feininger’s watercolours and drawings of America with their spiritualized lines: Bonifacio’s works share the same dose of almost extended perception of both logical and illogical surfaces within a framework that betrays a predilection for architecture. Where the German-American painter avoided curved lines and took inspiration from actual towns and cities in Thüringen, Bonifacio revisits the imaginary and intellectual cities of artists such as Klee and Marc within an ordered structure of visual acquisitions, through a formal analysis which orders and puts on the same level fragments of memory and things that fall under immediate experience.

Bonifacio is an unusual painter in today’s world: he is more “philosophical” if one takes this word to refer to certain phenomenological schemas according to which the image of reality, lost as a datum, is re-found as an eidetic figure, as intended essence. Here perhaps lies the key to a “vision” that appears to be, at one and the same time, close up and remote, catalogued, part of a subject-object ambiguity that has already happened and yet is completely new and subjective, something whose meanings and whose highly sensitive tonalities are there to be discovered in emerging graphic evidence.

Germano Beringheli, 1975

(da recensione mostra personale alla Galleria Art Room, Genoa, 1975)