Monica Bonvicini: LOVER’S MATERIAL: Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany
In her work, the internationally renowned artist Monica Bonvicini deals with themes such as the critique of institutions, the relationship between gender and feminism, and the exercise of control and power. She is known for her site-specific installations that humorously deconstruct and question the architecture of art institutions. For the motif of the invitation card to the exhibition in Bielefeld, she chose a drawing from 2020 that refers to the architect of the Kunsthalle, Philip Johnson, who was striving for a clear setting for the modernist project with the Bielefeld museum building in the "International Style".
The title LOVER'S MATERIAL refers to author Franz Schulze's characterization of the relationship between Philip Johnson and his partner Jon Stroup. In his biography of Philip Johnson, Stroup is described as "comfortably passive". For Monica Bonvicini, this opens up the realization that relationships can also be defined as something objectifying and rationalizing. Based on this thought, the entire exhibition examines the relationships that are linked to the exhibition space – both economic-private and political. How is the relationship of the artist to the place, the artworks, the visitors or the employees of the museum and what dependencies are created?
In addition to numerous new works such as floor and room installations, sculptures, a video work and drawings created for the exhibition, the glass sculpture "Up In Arms" (2019) will also be on display. As a visual play on words, the work, which reproduces the artist's arms herself in rose-colored crystal glass, represents both tenderness and tension as well as the call for resistance and protest proclaimed in the title. This connection characterizes many of the new works that were created under the contrasting impressions of the current worldwide protests and the isolation caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. Private space and public space, coercion and freedom are examples of the tensions of the current year.
Courtesy of the artist
© Monica Bonvicini and VG-Bildkunst, Bonn 2022, Photo: Jens Ziehe