Ein unmögliches Geschenk, 2006
Acrylic on canvas, transparent paper, ribbon with bow, Perspex box
80 x 80 cm
Photo: Gerhard Sauer
A person is only truly a person when at play, as Friedrich Schiller observed over 200 years ago. The Italian artist Corrado Bonomi is one such gifted player – or so the playground of his art suggests. He plays with objects and artefacts found in the world around him, with the seamless borders between model and reality, with profane and sacred icons. He has had himself photographed as a conjuror with a glowing sphere, and then as a gardener, angler and pizza chef. With blithe seriousness Corrado Bonomi sounds out the boundaries between art and kitsch. And always by means of role games in which the protagonists of art inevitably get involved: on the one side the artist as he is expected to be, on the other the expectations of the art audience and at centre stage the artwork. A work like “Ein unmögliches Geschenk” [An Impossible Gift] must be seen in this light. It is a square picture, balanced on its tip, packed and adorned by a yellow bow like a present. The picture as such remains hidden inside – or is the packed picture the actual work?
In the 1950s the American artist Jasper Johns did a series of paintings featuring the U.S. flag, the Stars and Stripes. Composer John Cage responded by asking: “Is it a flag or is it a painting?” Much the same question can be posed with regard to Corrado Bonomi’s work – even if it is not a painting: Is this a gift or is it the image of a gift? Bonomi’s present refuses to give a straight answer, and actually brings up further questions: what in fact is the gift as such, and is it secretly waiting to at last be unpacked? Who is meant to receive the gift? Did in fact the work enter the collection as a gift? And why indeed is it an “impossible” gift? We cannot say. We can merely guess – as players in a role game in which Corrado Bonomi and his work ensnares us ever deeper in speculative encounters.
1956 born in Novara (IT)
Lives and works in Novara