'[In] recent years Bonalumi has developed a research that identifies spatial models mainly based on geometric-organic forms that imply, on the one hand, a proximity to the precise sciences and, on the other, the preservation of the human component: factors that reveal the duality of his operation that entails both the creation of "physical" objects and archetypes deriving from a logical abstract process' (G. Celant, quoted in F. Pola, Agostino Bonalumi: All the Shapes of Space, 1958-1976, Milan 2013, p. 78).
Created in 1964, Agostino Bonalumi's Rosso is an intimate example of his 'extroflecting' canvases, the works with which he is most associated. In this example, the rigid rectangle of the red monochrome canvas is disrupted by the bulging protuberance that dominates the centre. With this element, Bonalumi manages to invade the space of the viewer, disrupting the notion of two-dimensionality often associated with painting. Bonalumi has discarded imagery, instead investigating the very nature of painting by looking at its most elemental components. These have been reconfigured in such a way that they are abstract, three-dimensional, and crucially suggestive.
As Germano Celant pointed out, some of Bonalumi's works in the mid-1960s retained an element that invoked the human form, or at least presence. With the proboscis-like central bulge that protrudes from the canvas, Bonalumi has created something that recalls, say, a human nose. There is a sense of heft to this component, which appears to be weighed down, revealing Bonalumi's deft ability to create an impression of gravity, even in a shaped canvas. There is a pendulum-like aspect to Rosso which adds to its impression of weight, its impression that there is more to painting than initially meets the eye.
In Rosso, Bonalumi has deliberately off-set the rectangular nature of the picture surface with the curvaceous, drop-like form of the central area. He has created a play upon the nature of the two-dimensional picture plane which is only underscored by the way in which bulge juts beyond the borders of the oblong red backdrop. Within the rigour of the monochrome canvas, then, Bonalumi has managed to create a work that playfully disrupts many of the elements which are considered the a priori constituents of painting.