Cosima von Bonin is one of the most influential and prolific artists working in Germany today. Making painting, sculpture, installations, textiles, performances and films, her art is not limited to a single medium or genre. Von Bonin’s approach is often collaborative; she has organised numerous events with fellow artists, musicians and theorists, stretching the definition of an artist by assuming the role of curator, critic, DJ and producer.
Von Bonin has an acute awareness of social and artistic relations and has explored them in a number of her collaborations. When given a solo exhibition at Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne in 1992, she invited the artist Ingeborg Gabriel to exhibit her work instead. Similarly, at the entrance to her recent solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, rather than give her own work pride of place, von Bonin installed a large work by New York-based artist Nils Norman to greet visitors. Von Bonin also used the exhibition’s catalogue as a vehicle to promote her peers by commissioning Norman, Josephine Pride and Kai Althoff to contribute texts. By taking an active curatorial role in such events, von Bonin both exposes and subverts the mechanisms of the art world.
An important strand of von Bonin’s practice is her use of textiles as exemplified by International Wool Exchange 2003 and Crude Cuisine (Loop #1) 2003, both included in the exhibition. The source of these textile ‘paintings’ was a photograph of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles published in BUNTE, the German equivalent of Hello! magazine. Von Bonin has partially hidden both figures, reducing them to silhouette using collage and embroidery. Alluding to the work of Blinky Palermo, Sigmar Polke and Rosemarie Trockel, von Bonin plays with the thematic shift of such images by creating a complex web of references to high art, popular culture, craft, and domesticity whilst challenging bourgeois constructions of femininity.
Cosima von Bonin was born in Mombasa, Kenya in 1962 and was awarded the Scholarship of the Günther-Peill-Stiftung, Düuren from 1998 – 2000. Her work has been shown in many group exhibitions including Fusion Cuisine, Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens (2002), Out of Space, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2000) and oLdNEWtOWn, Casey Kaplan, New York (1999). Her recent solo exhibitions include Galerie Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid (2004), Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York (2003) and the Kunstverein Hamburg (2001).