Spotlight

Spotlight artist Bea Bonafini

Championed by gallerist Will Hainsworth
The Wick - Alien Vibrations
2023, Bea Bonafini
Above  Alien Vibrations 2023, Bea Bonafini
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The Wick - Bea Bonafini
Photo Teddy Freeman
Above  Bea Bonafini Photo Teddy Freeman
Interview
Bea Bonafini
Photography
Teddy Freeman
27 March 2024
Interview
Bea Bonafini
Photography
Teddy Freeman
27 March 2024
Bea Bonafini roves freely between media to create ambiguous imagery steeped in Mediterranean mythology and symbolism. The Italian artist, who lives between London and Barcelona, entangles textiles, painting, ceramics and drawing in her colour saturated work, which makes her a fitting choice for Palmer Gallery’s inaugural group show Field of Difference, focusing on emerging artists working across an array of disciplines.

This year is a busy one for Bonafini, who also features in Diario Notturno, a group show at MAXXI, L’Aquila, Italy, and will have a solo show at Kristin Hjellegjerde’s Miami gallery in April, titled The Floating World, which draws on her recent travels in Japan, Meanwhile, her third solo exhibition with Renata Fabbri gallery in Milan opens in late May.

Bonafini’s champion for The Wick is Palmer Gallery co-founder Will Hainsworth, who is drawn to the multifaceted nature of her practice and the freedom with which she moves between media.
He says: “Bea Bonafini’s work is a beautiful marriage of craft, material, theory, and aesthetic. Her works range from wall-based textile pieces, to hanging sculptures and free-standing ceramics. The ceramic works use a Japanese technique called Nerikomi, where ink is watered down and used to stain porcelain, giving it a marbling effect reminiscent of stone; while the textile works use intricately inlaid domestic carpet to create a similar visual effect, all the while conjuring up natural, organic forms reminiscent of tropical flora.”

Bonafini draws much of her inspiration from mythological literature and archaeology, where she looks for “the root of symbolism and stories that feed our collective unconscious,” she says. “I search for spaces where spirituality and visual expression coexist, like temples, caves, or someone’s home altar. I also get most of my creative juices from travelling and residencies, personal experiences and relationships.”

In her new series of mixed media paintings for her Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery show in Miami, visitors will discover entangled figures, feathered creatures, a spider gazing at its reflection, and a raven dangling upside down from a tree. These are rendered in delicate layers of spray paint, water-soluble pencils and diaphanous textiles.

She adds: “The Miami show takes its title from an erotic moment in Japanese history where hedonism and transgression were an important part of life. The Floating World (ukiyo) references both rich, sensorial experiences and the ephemerality of life. With this new body of work I express my love for fragmented figures and collage to construct swirling, sensual scenarios, lingering between the erotic, the magical and the poetic.”

Bonafini is currently on a research residency in Malta so keep your eyes on her upcoming work to discover what mythological marvels emerge.

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight  artist Bea Bonafini

Will Hainsworth is the co-founder of Palmer Gallery in London’s Lisson Grove, a new contemporary gallery showcasing the work of emerging cross-disciplinary artists in a former factory built in the 1920s. He has over ten years’ experience in the art world, working for contemporary galleries and art advisories in both London and New York.

“Bea Bonafini’s work is a beautiful marriage of craft, material, theory, and aesthetic.”

Place of Birth

Bonn, Germany

Education

MA in Painting, Royal College of Art, London, 2014-2016
BA in Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, 2010-2014

Awards, Accolades

Ala Foundation Prize, Italy, 2023
Artocène residency and site-specific commission, France, 2023
Alkinois residency, Athens, Germany, 2022
Pébeo Prize for Painting, Art-o-Rama, France, 2021
Abbey Scholarship for Painting, British School in Rome, Italy, 2019-21
Slade School of Fine Art Prize, UK, 2014

Current exhibitions

Diario Notturno, a group show at MAXXI, L’Aquila, Italy, until 12 may 2024
Field of Difference, a group show at Palmer Gallery, London, UK, until 6 April 2024
(Upcoming) The Floating World, a solo show at Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery, West Palm Beach, Miami, USA, 6 April to 11 May 2024

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Spiritual guides: Italo Calvino, Hilma af Klint, Louise Bourgeois, Wangechi Mutu and Anne Boyer


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Dates
08 March 2024 — 06 April 2024
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