(*1978, Heerlen, Netherlands)
Through videos, performances, photographs and installations, Melanie 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, Bonajo explores the spiritual emptiness of their 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). Recent international solo exhibitions took place in FOAM, Amsterdam The Netherlands (2016); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany in 2017 and at Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht NL: ‘The death of Melanie Bonajo: how to unmodernise yourself and become an elf in 12 steps’ in 2018. Melanie Bonajo’s work has been shown in recent group exhibition: Shanghai Biennale (2020/21); Kunsthaus Hamburg; Kunsthaus Dresden (2020); Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg (2020); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2019/20); Pori Museum (2019); Rencontres d’Arles, F (2019); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); Guangzhou Triennial (2018/19); Kunsthalle Lingen (2019); Design Museum, Ghent (2019); Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle (2018/19); Museum Marta Herford (2018); Haus der Kunst, München (2018); Manifesta 12, Palermo (2018;, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018); Kunstsaele Berlin (2018); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2018); Tate Modern, London (2017); Kunsthalle Basel (2016). Melanie Bonajo was nominated for the Nam June Paik Award (2018), the Prix de Rome (2017) and shortlisted for the 57th Venice Biennale (2016). Bonajo was awarded for the film Night Soil - Economy of Love with the IFFR Tiger Award (2016). Melanie Bonajo will represent The Netherlands at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 and will be working with a curatorial Team consisting of Maaike Gouwenberg, Geir Haraldseth and Soraya Pol. The work will be presented at the Chiesetta della Misericordia in the Cannaregio neighbourhood in Venice.
Bonajo is the initiator of the Genital International collective, a member of the band Z▲Z▲Z◎Z◎ and initiated The Skinship- A touch based place for kinship- in Berlin. They also work as a somatic sex coach and educator, and workshop facilitator serving the queer community.