In her work, Melanie Bonajo examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality, and body-politics. Through her videos, performances, photographs and installations, she 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, Bonajo 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.
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). Her solo show ‘The Death of Melanie Bonajo’ is currently running in the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, NL. Her work is right now shown in international exhibitions throughout Europe; a.o. ‘Blind Faith’, curated by Julienne Lorz in Haus der Kunst, München, Manifesta 12, Palermo, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Katerina Gregos, Kunstsaele Berlin, curated by Ellen Blumenstein and Anima Mundi in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, curated by Hans van der Ham. She is nominated for the Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst 2018. Upcoming shows include Martha Herford Museum, Herford (DE) and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
Melanie Bonajo had her first international solo exhibition in FOAM, The Netherlands, in 2016. The Frankfurter Kunstverein followed with a major solo exhibition in 2017: ‘Single Mother Songs from the End of Nature’. Melanie Bonajo’s film ‘Progress vs. Regress’, commissioned by Hacking Habitat Utrecht, is the first part of her recent trilogy. For the second part of this trilogy, ‘Progress vs. Sunsets’, Melanie Bonajo was shortlisted for the Prix de Rome 2017. In 2016, Melanie Bonajo was shortlisted for the 57th Venice Biennale. Her film Night Soil—Economy of Love, awarded for the IFFR Tiger Awards (2016), was produced and screened by Schunck, Heerlen (2015), and shown at a.o. Museum Arnhem, AKINCI, Amsterdam (2015) and EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam (2016). Melanie Bonajo presented the Night Soil trilogy in her solo show at FOAM, Amsterdam, and it was acquired by Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht where it is on view now.