Milan

Richard Bosman

Toselli Gallery

Aerial visions and acrobatic flashes of a tragic skirun animate this show by peintre maudit Richard Bosman. Bosman’s reputation as a lover of the criminal, the cruel, and the frightening preceded his arrival in Milan for this, his first show of paintings here. His images are accelerated film frames, instantaneous takes, and rapid sequences, translated into paintings. The Skier, 1985, is like a film: an unsettling subject unfolds amid the snowy landscape. The images follow the descent: an immaculate setting, crisp air, trees enveloped by wind, the purifying vista of nature; then a flight, the fall, physical damage, blood.

How are these paintings different from Uptown Murder, 1981, for example, or The Burden, 1983? In the former, a woman stands between window and victim; one doesn’t know if she’s the author or the discoverer of the crime. In the latter, a boy drags behind him the cumbersome load of a human head. These paintings are condensed representations of events, successive phases, silent, an epilogue. To paraphrase the rule for ancient tragedy: they have a unity of time, of place, and of anguish.

While one comprehends the protagonist’s anxiety, what holds the phases of Bosman’s painting together is the deliberate way he breaks down the boundary between interior and exterior. Bosman’s painting is an amplified representation of events both external and internal. The representation spells out what has happened, including states of mind and psychic reactions to the event. In fact, it has been justly suggested that this painting is both Freudian and Jungian in that it examines what lies in shadows in terms of both the individual and the expression of a collective anxiety. In Bosman’s work, with its expanded emotive elements and chronicled event, the painting exists on a level more typical of the theater; the tragedy is recited with intent to purify The painting’s narrative aspect achieves an ethical sentiment and aims at catharsis. The white snows emit a sense of the clear and clean, but the outcome is written in fate, as in classical tragedy.

Bosman’s paintings have an abstract expressionist fabric. This “perverse” nephew of Pop art, heir to Lichtenstein’s illustrations, overlays his painting with a cultural coating all his own. His expressionist references translate the difficulty of a dialogue with reality into imagery that touches the heights of exasperation.

—Jole de Sanna

Translated from the Italian by Meg Shore.