Monica Bonvicini: Forget All Instructions

Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zahnradstrasse, Zurich


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 gender-loaded orientation.
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.
Installation Views
Installation view, Monica Bonvicini: Forget All Instructions, Galerie Petere Kilchmann, Zurich, Switzerland, 2015, Photo: Sebastian Schaub