In her work, Melanie Bonajo examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality, and body-politics. Through her videos, performances, photographs and installations, she studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation. Captivated by concepts of the divine, Bonajo explores the spiritual emptiness of her 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). Her work has been exhibited and performed in international art institutions and her films have been screened at numerous international festivals.
The video work ‘Night Soil -Economy of Love’ portrays a group of sex workers in Brooklyn who regard their work as a way for women to regain power in a male-dominated pleasure zone. Their mission is to transform sexual conventions and ideas about intimacy. The vivid images are accompanied by spoken text, an expression of Bonajo’s vision of contemporary spirituality and expectations about gender roles, with playful, sensual and feminist means. Power to the female body!
Melanie Bonajo was our guest in the programme ‘Tools for engagement: Three stories about sex, rites and intimicy’ (part of Sex & the Sexual Politics of the Gaze).