For her solo exhibition at the Zabludowicz Collection, London-based Italian artist Bea Bonafini transforms the Invites gallery into a quasi-domestic space, exploring the idea of a non-religious chapel. Central to the installation is the tension between order and chaos, and interior and exterior.
A large inlayed carpet, pieced together from hand-cut sections, covers the entire room.
The design references a 15th century marble ‘intarsio’ floor in Siena Cathedral. The floor once depicted horses and soldiers in a theatrical biblical battle, but thousands of feet have rubbed it smooth over time, erasing narrative details and abstracting the figures in the scene. Bonafini translates the imagery into ripples of green, blue and pink colour, onto which visitors can walk and sit. A large drawing occupies an end wall in the manner of an altarpiece. Constructed from shaped tiles of paper, its delicately rendered imagery shows an interior space populated by stacked columns based on the artist’s own sculptures.
Through the production of sensuous and tactile objects and environments Bonafini investigates the notion of comfort. Stretching and pushing familiar forms into new shapes through hands- on processes of making, her installations and performances operate on the boundary between the functional and dysfunctional. Familiar and seemingly welcoming spaces are made to suddenly feel uneasy, as if one is being consumed by richly decorative surfaces and layers of history.