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Umberto Bonfini. A doctor in Grizzana

Casa Morandi
November 23, 2018 - February 3, 2019

From medicine to photography

Umberto Bonfini was born in Pisa in 1918. He came to Grizzana (now Grizzana Morandi) at the end of the 1940s to exercise his profession as physician. Here he became acquainted with the eminent painter Giorgio Morandi. Their friendship brought him closer to Morandi’s painting, which was introductory to what would be his own art, namely photography. Bonfini only actually became actively interested in photography after Morandi’s death, beginning by taking pictures of compositions of objects inspired by Morandi’s own still lifes.
Bonfini later moved to Lagaro, adjoining Grizzana, exercising the medical profession and living there until his death on 10 August 1980. Giorgio Tani, president of the Italian Federation of Photography Associations, remembers Bonfini as a maestro, precursor of certain avant-garde photography techniques of the 1970s. In those years, when digital photography was still far away, he created a series of photomontages that won international awards.
Bonfini loved photography, and this love was not unrequited. Prizes, publications with his photos filled his home and medical office. His pictures, with their at times gloomy meaning, hermetic, provocative have been shown at 600 exhibitions in Italy and abroad, winning a hundred or more awards throughout the world. He was made honorary member of the photo clubs of Buenos Aires, Forlì and Modigliana.
The film director Claudio Spottl, the curator of this show, reveals that Bonfini’s photos had always hung on the walls of his paternal grandfather’s house, so he had the fortune to inherit a number of Bonfini’s works, and over the years has practically rebuilt the Bonfini archives, reconstructing his story as photographer. After ten years of research Umberto Bonfini’s photographs are ready, again, for viewing – after forty years of silence – in an emotion-charged exhibition.

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