I couldn’t shake it. The moment when hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sheets of paper lingered in space over lower Manhattan, in a silent, unnervingly beautiful counterpoint to the events of the day; sheets of paper that, like so many lives and memories, had been released, and were floating away. – Gustavo Bonevardi
The Twin Towers were a backdrop to Gustavo Bonevardi’s childhood. With his father, an artist, he watched their construction while growing up on Greenwich and 12th Streets, just north of lower Manhattan. Still living in his family home on 9/11, Bonevardi went outside to investigate and saw thousands of pieces of paper appearing to float. In contrast to the horrifying nature of the flames and broken glass, the fluttering paper seemed to him to have been liberated into the sky.
Witnessing the towers fall, Bonevardi felt like a child again, wanting to bring the towers back. In a collaborative project known as Tribute in Light, he filled the skyline with twin beams of light projected into the night sky. A few years later, Bonevardi recalled the floating paper and returned to the topic of 9/11 in a new series of drawings. This work, titled Falling, uses scattered letters drawn on paper to evoke the pieces of paper that blew into the sky that day. Just as nothing made sense to him on 9/11, the letters do not form words.
The inspiration for Bonevardi's multi-panel drawing Falling came to him unexpectedly years after 9/11. It was only after conceiving the drawing that he recognized the image was one that had struck him, like many others, as the Twin Towers fell. Rendered entirely with hand-drawn letters, the work depicts a sky filled with sheets of paper floating, falling, or dissolving into space.
Gustavo Bonevardi has been involved in the arts throughout his life, but did not dedicate himself fully to fine art until after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Before then, he had worked as an architect for several years after earning a Master’s degree in that field. Bonevardi’s artwork ranges from the minuscule to the monumental. His watercolors, drawings, and stone sculptures often feature masses of tiny, precisely rendered letters that explore notions of structure and chaos, sense and nonsense. In collaboration with his creative partner John Bennett, Bonevardi also creates large-scale works of public art throughout the United States and abroad.