From 19 January to 26 February 2023 the exhibition spaces of the Civic Aquarium of Milan will host the new solo show by Corrado Bonomi Acque chete, curated by Alberto Fiz. The inauguration was held on Wednesday 18 January, in the presence of the coordinator Elisabetta Polezzo and the Director of the Exhibitions and Science Museums Area of Milan Domenico Piraina.
Press Release by Artemide PR by Stefania Bertelli:
The exhibition, promoted by the Municipality of Milan Culture and by the Aquarium and Civic Hydrobiological Station, curated by Alberto Fiz, presents 20 works, including paintings, sculptures and installations which have the marine world with its inhabitants as a unifying element and provides reflection on the themes of diversity and sustainability through the lens of irony, a characteristic trait of all the artistic investigation that Bonomi has been conducting since the 1980s with wide national and international recognition. As Alberto Fiz states “in the Aquarium space a wide selection of works is proposed aimed at retracing the artist’s expressive investigation from 1987 to today in a poetic and irreverent roundabout that undermines our certainties winking at myth, literature and art. The still waters of Bonomi hide many pitfalls and surprises”.
To enter the exhibition, the viewer must cross the Belly of the whale walking through the unprecedented site-specific installation created by the artist for the occasion with the vertebrae and ribs of the cetacean in polystyrene. At the bottom is a candle, placed on a small table, which recalls the many figures swallowed by the cetacean such as Pinocchio or Jonah. But also the Baron of Münchhausen or the lead soldier.
In the same environment appears New Arrivals, a large work of almost three meters made in 2021 with a model of a sperm whale carrying a multitude of migrants on its back. Through the transfiguration of the myth of rescue, the artist is inspired by the ancient Polynesian and Hawaiian tales in which the living move on the back of a cetacean. Also in this circumstance the references are many and the most explicit citation is to The Navigation of San Brandano and the whale-island on which, according to legend, the Irish monk would have landed.
After dealing with the theme of travel, Bonomi proposes Mare nostrum, a very problematic work where inside a wooden curtain, similar to a children’s theater with a sand base and surrounded by bamboo hooks they can fish with a magnet the many objects that ended up at the bottom of the Mediterranean such as the miniatures of the remains of Ustica, the doge’s ring (on Ascension Day it was thrown into the sea as a sign of thanks) or the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the plane on which the famous French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, was traveling.
The fishing nets become the metaphorical space where the cans of Mare (Sea) end up entangled, the cycle begun in 1987. The artist stages his personal archiving of fish which are painted on circular containers for preserving in oil. What emerges is an eco-sustainable installation in continuous evolution where a different aquatic animal appears on each can of tuna, giving life to a journey among marine creatures in an effective representation of the underwater world.
The ecological components and environmental distortions are also highlighted by Hammerhead shark from the Ars Topiaria series where natural forms are associated with synthetic materials (shredded and recycled pieces of plastic are used) giving rise to sarcastic hybridizations. On this occasion, on an earthenware vase filled with expanded clay, a shark appears that seems to be born from an artificial bush.
Another highly topical work proposed at the Aquarium is Arca Virus, a model of Noah’s Ark inspired by medieval typologies. Inside there are twelve test tubes containing colored liquids that simulate the twelve most dangerous pathogens on the planet. Under them is hidden the electrical circuit that allows the LEDs to light up. At the stern a yellow flag with the symbol of health danger. The work, created in 2009, is a rather surprising premonition of the pandemic.
The artist then created another installation for the Aquarium, The Fleet of Art. From the imaginary Bonomi shipyard come aircraft carriers and submarines made by stacking books, catalogues, encyclopaedias (the masters of colour) and magazines such as “Flash Art” or “Il Giornale dell’Arte”. The controversy towards the art system is evident where piles of paper become construction material making the content completely irrelevant.
Bonomi’s imaginative universe also includes references to Richard Wagner with Ghost Vessel, a boat in synthetic fiber and cotton that poetically sails upwards, and to Fëdor Dostoevsky with three works dedicated to his famous story The crocodile: an extraordinary case where , through a game of mirrors, the observer experiences the sensation of being swallowed by the crocodile. Literature is also a source of inspiration for some precious testimonies from the early 1990s that belong to the Treasure Island cycle with the artist evoking Jules Verne, Joseph Conrad and Daniel Defoe. Bonomi paints ancient sailing ships and boats on nautical charts proposing his classic tautologies which allow for the creation of a relationship of syncretism between the pictorial object and the material.
Then there are many works that challenge the rules of art history with irreverent and paradoxical homages, as in the case of Marcel Duchamp and the little boat of art navigating the urinal (the title Navigating the perilous sea of the avant-garde) to the marine Arcimboldo where a multiform image appears made with an assembly of marine creatures in plastic, passing through Claude’s dream with a miniature Monet painting on a floating water lily leaf reflected on a body of water.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Allemandi with texts by Alberto Fiz, Elisabetta Polezzo, Marianna Cappia and an interview with the artist by Barbara Cottavoz.
From 19 January to 26 February 2023
Civic Aquarium of Milan, Viale Gadio 2, Milan
Tuesday – Sunday: from 10.00 to 17.30
For more info: www.acquariodimilano.it