Born in Vimercate, Milan, in 1935, having abandoned his studies in technical and mechanical drawing, he devoted himself as a self-taught painter, holding his first solo exhibition at Galleria Totti in Milan in 1956. Attending Enrico Baj's studio, he met Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani with whom, in 1958, he exhibited in Rome, Lausanne and finally Milan. The following year he founded with Castellani the magazine "Azimuth" and frequented the studio of Lucio Fontana, beginning a research focused on space that led him to create his first extroflessioni: works that the artist defines as object-paintings, obtained thanks to frames and structures that, placed on the back of the canvas, involve its tension and deformation. During the 1960s, his research evolved toward the creation of works-ambient, in which the viewer actively participates in the space: summits of this research are Blu abitabile (1967); Grande ambiente bianco e nero (1968) and Ambiente pittura dal giallo al bianco e dal bianco al giallo (1979). He participated in the Venice Biennale in 1966, returned there in 1970 with a solo room and again in 1986.  Bonalumi is also involved in set design, creating in 1970, for the Teatro Romano in Verona, the sets and costumes for the ballet Partita by Susanna Egri and in 1972, for the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, the sets and costumes for the ballet Rot. In 2002 he was awarded the President of the Republic Prize, and on this occasion the Accademia nazionale di S. Luca dedicated a retrospective exhibition to him at the Palazzo Carpegna venue in Rome. In the same year he participates in the exhibition "Themes and Variations" at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. In 2003, an exhibition is mounted at the Civica Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Gallarate and, on the occasion of the Semester of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, he participates in the exhibition "Futuro Italiano" set up in the halls of the European Parliament in Brussels. Bonalumi died in Desio in 2013.