Melanie Bonajo examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort. Through her videos, performances, photographs, and installations, Bonajo studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing a sense of belonging in an individual. Captivated by concepts of the divine, she explores the spiritual emptiness of her generation, examines peoples’ shifting relationship with nature and tries to understand existential questions by reflecting on our domestic situation, ideas around classification, concepts of home, gender and attitudes towards value.
The work of Melanie Bonajo (1978, Heerlen, The Netherlands) has been exhibited and performed in international art institutions, such as EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam; Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Moscow Biennale; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and PPOW Gallery, New York. Her films have been screened at Kunsthalle Basel (2016), and numerous festivals such as International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and the Berlinale. In 2012, she initiated the collective Genital International, which tackles subjects around feminism, participation, equality, our Earth: ‘Politics beyond Polarity’ and ‘Revolution through Relaxation.’
Bonajo has contributed to several art magazines, was creative editor of Capricious Magazine, and curated various shows, such as the QQC Performance Festival about pop music in visual arts at the Paradiso, Amsterdam. She published several books, the most recent being: ‘Matrix Botanica, numero 1 – Non-Human Persons,’ designed by Experimental Jetset and published by Capricious Publishing (New York). In 2013, she released an album with her band Z▲Z▲Z◎Z◎ (in collaboration with Joseph Marzolla) called Inua.
Melanie Bonajo studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and completed residencies at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam (2009-10) and at ISCP in New York (2014). This year, she was shortlisted for the 57th Venice Biennale. Her film Night Soil – Economy of Love, recently awarded for the IFFR Tiger Awards (2016), has been produced and screened by Schunck, Heerlen (2015), was shown at a.o. AKINCI, Amsterdam (2015), EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam (2016), Einz, Twei, Wechselschritt during Art Cologne (2016). Recently, Melanie Bonajo presented her Night Soil trilogy in a solo show at FOAM, Amsterdam.