Gotthard Bonell is a figurative-oriented painter, particularly active as a portrait painter. He was influenced both by historical models (Andrea Mantegna, Tiziano, Lorenzo Lotto) and by the twentieth-century portraits of Felice Casorati and by the work of some South Tyrolean artists such as Albin Egger-Lienz, Ignaz Stolz and Ernst Nepo.
Bonell is bound to the art of the past and to tradition in two ways: on the one hand, through his study and nude, still life and landscape, to which the artist always attaches considerable importance, but never eschews his own personal interpretation. In his work there is a dialectic of intelligence and feeling, a look at reality whose character is sensistic and melancholic. The landscape becomes reality. The body (of things) has a fertile vitality, but they are at the same time documents of decomposition and death. A skilled portrait painter, today Bonell is one of the few who is able to reformulate the tension between portrait and portraitist, transforming it into interpretative capital. His still lifes speak for themselves. Robert Mapplethorpe has considered flowers and fruits as an expression of the plant's sexuality and Bonell shares its obsessive gaze, its erotic obsessions. If in the portraits of his friends - painters, writers and composers - a tension emerges between intelligence (also knowledge of the artistic contributions of the past) and overflowing feeling, a culminating moment on an emotional level, here is that human participation, but at the same time also the detached gaze, is an important engine of restlessness, a tension that is felt first and foremost in the drawings, or in that most direct form of artistic practice and seismography.
Gotthard Bonell was born in Trodena (I) in 1953. After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, he graduated from the Brera Academy in Milan. In 1980-81 he was assistant at the Internationale Sommerakademie in Salzburg and, since 1985, studied singing at the Claudio Monteverdi Conservatory in Bolzano. He took part in numerous exhibitions in Italy, Austria and Germany and dedicated himself to writing various texts, including Hautgrenze, Inszenierung und Verwandlung - Immagine della penombra and Rituale. He currently lives and works in Trodena, Bolzano (I).
Among the group exhibitions we remember his collaboration with the Sgarbi Project in Castellabate in 2016, Abstraktion at the Maier Gallery (A) 2016 and his activities at the Rudolf Stolz Museum (I) and Spazio delle Arti-Disegno (I) in 2017. Recent collaborations include work on the collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cavalese (I). He has also held numerous solo exhibitions, mainly between Italy and Austria, including: 2017, Schloß Tirol, Meran (I) , with Lois Anvidalfarei; 2016, Palazzo Trentini, Trento (I); 2013, Galleria Goethe and Galleria Civica di Bressanone (I); 2012, Schubertturm, Vienna (A); 2008, Messner Mountainmuseum (I), Museo Diocesano di Bressanone (I) and Innen-Außen, Galleria Goethe, Bolzano (I); 2005, Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum Innsbruck (A), Galerie Seywald, Salzburg (A); 2003, Portraits, Galleria Prisma, Bolzano (I) and German Russian House, Moscow (RU); 2002, Kupferstichkabinett, Accademia delle Belle Arti di Vienna (A); 1997, Schubertiade Feldkirch Montforthaus (A) and Galleria Goethe, Bolzano (I).
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