Bea Bonafini:
Fondamenta 2020

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5 June –

5 July 2020

The works by Bea Bonafini presented in Fondamenta display a hybridity between the animal and human, or the falling apart of the human body as it morphs into other forms, suggesting that aspirations and dreams are capable of melting human, physical and psychological limits. In all three works there’s a process of fragmentation, overlapping themes of water, fluidity and metamorphosis. They showcase the artist’s ability to work across media while maintaining her distinctive style, where the works adopt the language of displaced artefacts in order to shape new narratives.

Artissima presents Fondamenta, a curated online project that will run from 5 June – 5 July 2020. Fondamenta is a project based on the work of a fair in progress, to experiment with new ways of meeting and communicating, reacting to the transformations of the present. Fondamenta is not a viewing room, nor a virtual tour, nor an exhibition. It is a collective project coordinated by the curators of Artissima 2020 and produced with galleries for galleries, which are the fundamental “fondamenta”(foundations) of the fair, the heart and fulcrum of the art market. Fondamenta offers a virtual selection of approximately 200 art works (priced up to 15,000 Euros), presented by Italian and international exhibitors from Artissima 2019.

The works Fortuna and Hold on to me are part of a recent series of wall-based paintings on engraved and inlayed cork from 2020. The use of cork follows Bonafini’s interest in soft materials that can be stained and have a distinctive texture of their own, and are commonly used by artisans, and fashion and design industries. Cork is a sustainable material, leaving the tree unharmed when it is harvested every 9 years from the cork oak tree. These works are based on medieval and ancient beliefs on fortune and fate. The goddess Fortuna in Roman religion is blind, but she’s active and capricious. The quatrefoil forms are representative of an axis-mundi, depicting the passage between the celestial and the underworld. They also behave as an axis between the visual languages of the ancient world and the forward-looking aspects of the Italian Futurist movement.

Bonafini’s use of the ancient marbling technique where porcelain is stained, layered, cut and recomposed to create patterns and distortions which remain unglazed, can be seen in the wall-based ceramic Bathing Melusine from 2019, based on a mythological female water spirit where the materials it holds (sea glass and salt water) echo the subject matter whilst behaving as a holy water font. The artisthas been developing a carpet inlay technique over the years, which is demonstrated in the work Watch Me As I Fall from 2019. The wall-based tapestry depicts a figure descending the stairs, her mirror and reflection multiplying into a myriad of floating marks across the work, while phantom upside-down figures haunt and taunt her. The cascade of marks and gestures increases her potential tumble as she falls.

Bea Bonafini is a London and Rome based artist who works across painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and textiles. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art (2014) and the Royal College of Art (2016). Bea’s work revolves around the coexistence of incongruous ideas and forms, overlapping ancient and modern art history, fluid identity, religion and material craftsmanship. She examines ways to place the observer psychologically and physically at the work’s epicentre, questioning the tangibility and intimacy of an artwork, and its ability to formulate new mythologies and material possibilities.