The Institute of Things to Come | Melanie Bonajo and Pauline Cournier Jardin

10 June 2021 – 25 July 2021

Melanie Bonajo and Pauline Cournier Jardin
June 10 – July 25 2021
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Opening June 10, h 6.30 pm

curated by
Valerio Del Baglivo

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo hosts the third edition of The Institute of Things to Come, with an exhibition by the artists Melanie Bonajo (Holland, 1978) and Pauline Curnier Jardin (France, 1980), curated by Valerio Del Baglivo. Founded in 2017 The Institute of Things to Come is an annual thematic program of exhibitions, performances and workshops, which uses speculative arguments to propose alternative imaginaries and positions of social criticism. The 2021 edition is entitled “The convention of restorative anatomy and prosopopeia” and presents a program of exhibitions, publications and performances that question identity politics to propose non-binary interpretations to gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

In Turin the cycle hosts two large installations, Fake Paradise by Melanie Bonajo and Blutbad Parade by Pauline Curnier-Jardin. Through multiform artistic paths that combine performative, cinematographic and installation language, the two artists investigate moments of collective bodily expression and collaborative experimentation, to re-calibrate hegemonic and normative discourses on identity, gender and sexuality. In particular, intertwining together their interests for radical traditions and ancestral rituals, the potential of media and technology, and tactics of world-building, their practices explore different expanded forms of narratives, often resulting in complex installations with a strong visual impact.

Melanie Bonajo’s Fake Paradise is part of her experimental semi-documentary films series Night Soil, dedicated to cultural phenomena that contradict the linear progression of the capitalism and its values system. The piece considers the spiritual, medicinal and social dimensions of ayahuasca, an Amazonian plant with psychedelic properties. Navigating personal stories of experiences and perspectives induced by ayahuasca, the video installation pays close attention to the female voice, which has traditionally has been neglected in psychedelic research and popular culture. In 1916 in the city of Karlsruhe, the French air force bombed a circus in the middle of a performance, killing hundreds of civilians, including many women and children. Starting from this historical fact, Pauline Curnier Jardin’s installation Blutbad Parade, narrates the story of a phantom circus that returns every hundred years to play again on the site of original violence. The work woven together her interest for the carnivalesque and avant-guarde, tracing an inquiry into the categories of the deviant, the monstrous and the aberrancy of the war.


Melanie Bonajo

Melanie Bonajo had her first international solo exhibition in FOAM, The Netherlands (2016). The Frankfurter Kunstverein followed with a major solo exhibition in 2017: ‘Single Mother Songs from the End of Nature’ . In 2018, Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht presented her solo exhibition ‘The death of Melanie Bonajo: how to unmodernize yourself and become an elf in 12 steps’. Melanie Bonajo’s work has been shown in international exhibitions throughout Europe: Kunsthaus Dresden (2020); Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg, DE (2020); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2019/20); Pori Museum (2019); Rencontres d’Arles, F (2019); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); Guangzhou Triennial (2018/19); Kunsthalle Lingen (2019); Design Museum, Ghent (2019); Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle (2018/19); Museum Marta Herford (2018); Haus der Kunst, München (2018), Manifesta 12, Palermo (2018), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018). Melanie Bonajo was nominated for the Nam June Paik Award (2018), the Prix de Rome (2017) and shortlisted for the 57th Venice Biennale (2016).
Melanie Bonajo will represent The Netherlands at the 59th Venice Biennale, 2022.

Pauline Curnier Jardin (b. 1980, Marseille) is a Berlin-based artist working across installation, performance, film, and drawing. She is the winner of the 2019 Preis der Nationalgalerie, the 2021 Villa Romana Prize in Florence, and recipient of the 2019–20 Villa Medici fellowship in Rome. Her work was included or commissioned over the last years in Steirischer Herbst Festival, Graz (2020); Manifesta 13, Marseille (2020); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020 and 2013); the Bergen Assembly, Bergen Biennial (2019); International Film Festival, Rotterdam (2018); the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Tate Modern, London (2017); Performa 15, New York (2015). Curnier Jardin’s running solo exhibition Fat to Ashes at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin will run through 19 Sept 2021; Upcoming selection of shows and group shows in 2021 at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Galeria Municipal do Porto; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Features at Art Basel; Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm; and in 2022 Centraal Museum in Utrecht and CRAC in Sète.