The intelligence of the materials

Produced by
Archivio Bonalumi
Zenit Arti Audiovisive

60’, English subtitles, 2018

Director: Fabrizio Galatea
Historical-artistic director: Francesca Pola
Photography: Paolo Rapalino
Editing: Lucio Viglierchio
Director of production: Francesca Portalupi
Music: Fabio Viana

With Agostino Bonalumi, Fabrizio Bonalumi, Pierenrico Bonalumi, Nanni Balestrini, Luca Massimo Barbero, Fernanda Bonino, Luciano Caramel, Gillo Dorfles, Uliano Lucas, Davide Mazzoleni, Gabriele Oriali, Franca Scheggi, Arturo Schwarz, Tommaso Trini

The documentary is an exploration of Agostino Bonalumi’s artistic experimentation, the story of which runs in parallel with the Italian economic miracle of the 1960s; technological evolution and the discovery of new materials of domestic mass consumption (plastics, rubber, metals); the Milan of the Brera quarter, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni with its focus on the legendary Bar Giamaica; the popular success of the Triennale and the expansion of painting into architecture, design, sculpture and theatre; Italian artists venturing to New York and the relationship with European and American experimentation.
The narrative core of the film is Bonalumi’s last interview, conducted a few months before his death in 2013, which constitutes invaluable and irreplaceable testimony to his poetic and theoretical depth. It is interweaved with the voices of friends, family and colleagues who knew and frequented him, accompanying him in his artistic career; his sons Fabrizio and Pierenrico Bonalumi, the gallerists Arturo Schwarz, Fernanda Bonino and Davide Mazzoleni, the writer and artist Nanni Balestrini, the critics Gillo Dorfles, Luciano Caramel, Tommaso Trini and Luca Massimo Barbero, the photographer Uliano Lucas, his friend Franca Scheggi, the collector Gabriele Oriali. The narration is completed with an extensive documentary and audio-visual apparatus, the fruit of extensive research rooted in the Archivio Bonalumi.
The film examines Bonalumi’s artistic career through the social and cultural context in which he lived, showing how closely the art was linked to the contemporary and an only apparently distant popular millieu. More than a biographical account of a period in our recent history, this is also an original means of understanding changes in taste and perception that took place in contemporary Italy from the 1960s.