Crossing the boundaries between genres and ranging from prehistory to contemporary oneiric visions, Bea Bonafini intertwines the past with the present with the aim of creating new mythologies. By imagining lifeforms that have or could have existed and their inevitable extinction, she engages in an act of resurrection that reactivates all that has been lost. By reimagining the ghostly bodies of mythological figures that once fuelled human imagination, an attempt is made to embody collective mourning, bringing to life that which haunts collective consciousness in order to make peace with it.
Across her practice, Bonafini’s curiosity lies in cross-fertilising painting, tapestry, sculpture and artisanal techniques. She adopts the methods and materials traditionally used in other industries, extrapolating and interconnecting them: industrial domestic carpets are handled as stone to create complex inlaid tapestries; porcelain is stained and manipulated, using the Japanese nerikomi technique to resemble minerals, and carved like prehistoric tools. Sardinian cork is painted and shapes are engraved. Together Bonafini’s work forms swirling scenarios that are fragmented and multi-layered, optimistic and tender, while embracing the strength of fragility and vulnerability. Acting as protected spheres, the worlds that are created aim to be receptacles of a lost spirituality, as transcendental openings.
Bea Bonafini (b. 1990, Bonn, Germany) lives and works between London and Barcelona. She received her MA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2016. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome (2022); Setareh, Berlin (2022); Bosse & Baum, London (2022); Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg (2022); LAAA, Mexico City (2022); Renata Fabbri, Milan (2021); Eduardo Secci, Florence (2021); Operativa, Rome (2019); Chloe Salgado, Paris (2018); Lychee One, London (2018); and Zabludowicz Collection, London (2017). Bonafini’s work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Palazzo Abatellis Museum, Palermo (2022); Fondazione per l’Arte, Rome (2022); Kristen Hjellegjerde, London (2022); The Artsy Vanguard Fourth Edition, Miami (2021); Fondazione Sandretto, Guarene (2020); The British School at Rome (2019, 2020); Palazzo Reale Milan, (2019); and The Italian Cultural Institute, London (2018). Commissions include site-specific works for Palazzo Abatellis, Italy; Jonköping Council, Sweden; Meta HQ, UK. La Berlugane-Maleki residence, France; and Maison Estelle, UK.
2016 Royal College of Art - MA Painting
2014 Slade School of Fine Art, UCL - BA Fine Art
2010 Chelsea College of Art & Design, UAL
- Foundation in Art
& Design Diploma
2010 Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Art
- with Liliana Moro.
2008 Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Art
- with Li Songsong.