melanie bonajo (they/them/theirs) is an artist, filmmaker, sexological bodyworker, somatic sex coach and educator, cuddle workshop facilitator and activist. Through their videos, performances, photographs, and installations, they examine current conundrums of co-existence in a crippling capitalist system, and address themes of eroding intimacy and isolation in an increasingly sterile, technological world. They research how technological advances and commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing an individual’s sense of belonging. Their works present anti-capitalist methods to reconnect and to explore sexualities, intimacies and feelings. bonajo’s experimental documentaries often feature communities living or working on the margins of society, either through illegal means or cultural exclusion, and the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality and body-politics.
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). Solo exhibitions include FOAM, Amsterdam (2016), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2017) and Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2018). Expected solo shows: KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia (2023), IMMA Dublin, Ireland (2024).
melanie bonajo represented The Netherlands at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 with ‘When the body says Yes’. bonajo has been working with a curatorial team consisting of Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg, Geir Haraldseth and Soraya Pol. The scenography for their immersive installation ‘When the body says Yes’ is created in collaboration with Théo Demans.
Solo exhibitions have been: FOAM, Amsterdam (2016), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2017), Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2018).
Expected solo shows with ‘When the body says Yes’: FOMU, Antwerp, BE; Fotografiska Berlin, DE; IMMA Dublin, Ireland; KUMU Tallinn, Estonia.