Magazine article Artforum International

Monica Bonvicini

Magazine article Artforum International

Monica Bonvicini

Article excerpt

GALLERIA EMI FONTANA

A square in the form of a bed is not the same as a bed in the form of a square.

It is the first of these two possibilities that Monica Bonvicini has realized in BEDTIMESQUARE, 1999. The young artist (Venetian by birth but cosmopolitan by choice, dividing her time since 1986 between Berlin and Los Angeles) adopted as her standard of measurement that of a square piece by Carl Andre. She had a wooden structure built, a sort of square basin, covered on the outside by white ceramic tiles and on the inside with tiles made of an industrial composite. In the center, she placed a green air mattress. The whole thing was usable; that is, the public could interact with it, sitting, chatting, potentially even sleeping--making it a sort of real-life "conversation piece."

There are obviously two basic elements to this work, closely bound to each other: the square and the bed. On the one hand, therefore, the idea, absolute abstraction, distilled form; on the other, an impression of the body, of organic qualities, of instinctual more than conscious life. A relationship is established between two extremes, and this relationship is the most interesting and vital aspect of Bonvicini's work. She seeks to demystify the unbearable weight of the concept (in this case, of Minimalism) and to uncover the presence of form even in everyday life. To do this, Bonvicini brings many different constructive and visual devices into play. She uses tiles commonly found in household kitchens and bathrooms; the squares of compressed industrial composite are those used in gardens and terraces. …

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