Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
June 14 - July 18, 2015
Galerie Peter Kilchmann is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition at the gallery by the artist Monica
Bonvicini. The exhibition Forget All Instructions. includes works in different media with new interpretations of
themes that have concerned the artist for years.
The exhibition begins with eight large-format canvases with the title Portraits * (2014/2015), which were
produced in parallel with the sculpture series LATENT COMBUSTION, on show at the 56th Vienna Biennale in
the exhibition All the World's Futures curated by Okwui Enwezor at the Arsenale. Portraits literally translates the
process with which these powerful graphic works were created: painted in black they capture images of the
sculptures before and after their creation. The sculpture Leather Cage (2015) consists of a net that is a visual
reference to S&M leather gear. White Socks (2006) is the earliest work in the exhibition. The construction worker
boots coated with black rubber show that for many years the artist has been concerned with the subject of
manual work and the male stereotypes connected with it.
The second exhibition room contains new sculptures and prints from the series Warning! which take the
language of operating instructions as their starting point. The texts are a mixture of warnings when using certain
tools and information about S&M utensils. The result tends towards the anarchic and punk-like because,
depending on the context, the term “power tool” can be taken to mean penis or working tool. The theme of
manual work is also present in works such as Corner Boy (2015), a sculpture consisting of leather belts around
a hexahedron (220 x 72 x 72 cm), and Powder Belts, an axe belt fixed to the wall with the axe ready to hand.
With dry humour Bonvicini takes this special kind of literature to an extreme, mistreats it and squeezes it into a
Finally, in the last room there is a sculpture from the series LATENT COMBUSTION, which again takes up the
reference to “Portraits”. The sculpture hanging from the ceiling is made up of various chainsaws and an axe
bound with chains and dipped in black polyurethane. The different kinds of chainsaw guide bars protrude from
the monumental conglomeration that simultaneously appears glossy and matt due to its plastic coating. Its sheer
mass creates a weighty, even martial impression, which is however broken by the memory of baroque
chandeliers. On the wall hang the collages Legscutout (2015) which are an almost obsessive accumulation of
body parts. The arms and legs cut from magazines are brought together in both an orderly and chaotic way. The
bodies referred to in the whole exhibition find their expression here.
LATENT COMBUSTION - the title of this latest sculpture series consisting of a total of six unique pieces -
relates to internal combustion in chainsaw motors and at the same time implies a certain idea of shock, uproar
and tumult. It invokes the loss of handcraft skills in the traditional sense and the latent sea change resulting from
it. For many years the artist has used industrially produced materials such as chains, leather, latex, mirrors and
others as elements of her works and thus picks up on an area between the poles of industrial production and
handcraft. In LATENT COMBUSTION she once again brings together handwork and the readymade. Manually
and industrially produced materials are used to critique certain male power symbols.
Monica Bonvicini was born in 1965 in Venice and now lives and works in Berlin. Since 2003 she has been a
professor for performance art and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She studied at Berlin
University of the Arts and California Institute of the Arts, Valencia.
Monica Bonvicini’s work is concerned with power structures in architecture, (social) space and relationships.
She analyses their subtle connotations with intelligent historical references and incisively translates them and
comments upon them in the widest range of media. Her works have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions:
at the Lehnbachhaus in Munich, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel and the Sculpture Center, NY, to
mention just a few. She has participated at many biennales including the Venice Biennale (2015, 2011, 2005
and 1999), New Orleans Biennale (2008), São Paulo Biennale, Liverpool Biennale (2006) and the Berlin
Biennale (1998, 2003, 2014), again to mention just a few.
Last year Bonvicini showed a selection of works in the project room at Galerie Peter Kilchmann accompanying
her simultaneous participation at the exhibition Gasträume 2014 in Zurich.