Through the production of colourful and sensuous objects and environments, London-based Italian artist Bea Bonafini explores how images and material can suggest an intimate connection between people. Testing the notion of comfort, her installations and performances operate on the boundary between functionality and the aesthetic. Bonafini stretches familiar forms to make welcoming spaces suddenly feel uneasy, as if one is being consumed by rich decorative surfaces and layers of history.
For Dovetail's Nest Bonafini transforms the gallery space into a quasi-domestic and non-religious chapel. Covering the whole floor is a large ‘intarsio’ inlayed carpet, pieced together from hand-cut sections. The design references a 15th Century narrative marble floor piece in the Siena Duomo. Depicting horses and soldiers in a theatricalised biblical battle, today the floor has been rubbed smooth by thousands of feet, erasing all detail and abstracting the figures in the scene. A large drawing on paper tiles occupies an end wall in the manner of an altarpiece. It suggests an interior space of contemplation housing a collection of stacked forms based on the artist’s own sculptures. Rising from the carpet are two tall, thin timber chair frames, hand-carved into ribbon-like lines. Reminiscent of both household objects and fairytale thrones for absurdist figures of authority, their shape and proportions resist use.
Bea Bonafini (b. 1990, Bonn, Germany. Lives and works in London) studied for her BA at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, 2010–14 and an MA Painting at the Royal College of Art, London. Selected recent exhibitions include: A World Of One’s Own (solo exhibition), Fieldworks Gallery, London, 2017; Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight)?, J Hammond Projects, London , 2017; The House of Penelope, Gallery 46, London, 2017; Summer Blue, Lychee One Gallery, London, 2016; At Home Salon: Double Acts, Marcelle Joseph Projects, London , 2016; Full House, Le Cabinet Dentaire Gallery, Paris, 2015; The Behaviour of Being, Cob Gallery, London, 2015; ART15, Art fair, Live performance with Bosse and Baum Gallery, London, 2015; 15th Cypriot Contemporary Dance Festival (commissioned performance), Limassol, Cyprus, 2015; Anthropophagi (two-person collaborative show with Paola De Ramos), 26 Greek Street, London, 2013
Residencies include: Fieldworks Studio Residency, London , 2017; Villa Lena Art Residency, Italy, 2016; The Beekeepers Art Residency Portugal, in collaboration with curator Mia Pfeifer and Cob Gallery London, 2015