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»Desire Desiese Devise. Zeichnungen 1986–2012« is the first comprehensive show of illustrations, collages and text-based works by Monica Bonvicini. Hosted by Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen in cooperation with Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, the exhibition is on show in Sammlung Falckenberg from September 7 to November 18, 2012.

Monica Bonvicini is famous for her expansive and occasionally monumental installations in which she explores the structures of power and seduction in the architecture that surrounds us. Moreover, in the course of some 25 years the artist has created an impressive portfolio of illustrations, which she uses to intensify the relationships of everyday and political visual worlds that are so characteristic of her oeuvre.

Her illustrations and collages, which were often conceived as drafts for her installations, offer a personal insight into how she explores art history, architecture and sexuality, among other things. Her diverse interests are reflected in her use of different styles and materials: quotations from the history of art and architecture, from poetry, music and advertising masterly interweave notions of elegance and Punk. For Bonvicini illustration was a way of engaging directly and personally with a subject. The artist hardly ever features in her videos or photographs and has professional manufacturers produce and build her sculptures and installations, but the drawings she does herself.

Beyond the medium’s immediate and subjective character, the illustrations demonstrate the notion of process in the work of Bonvicini, who studied art originally. The instantly arresting quality of her large black-and-white Tempera pieces and the hard-edged immediacy of the medium take center stage in her drawings as do sensuality and humor.
Some 400 works on paper spread across three floors of Sammlung Falckenberg, which is part of Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen, along with a comprehensive catalog (Distanz Verlag/352 pages) featuring around 600 illustrations is the impressive result of Monica Bonvicini work in illustration between 1986 and 2012. Alongside a selection of large works such as the series »Off the Grid« (2012), »15 Steps to the Virgin«

(2011), »Hurricanes and Other Catastrophes« (2008), »Kill Your Father« (2001) »EternMale« (2000) and »Places of ID’s« (1996) the exhibition in Hamburg shows a whole host of collages, draft illustrations and text-based drawings. Initially conceived as a second stage in the overview exhibition of Monica Bonvicini’s works on paper, the pieces on show at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach serve to add another dimension to her oeuvre, thus opening up new angles on the work of Monica Bonvicini.


Monica Bonvicini was born in 1965 in Venice, Italy and lives and works in Berlin for many years. Since 2003 she teaches as a Professor for performative art and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Monica Bonvicini has had numerous solo shows and participated in many group exhibitions, among others: Berlin Biennale (1998, 2004), the Venice Biennial (1999; 2005 and 2011); Secession, Vienna (2003); Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2005); Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2006); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; Sculpture Center, Long Island City (2007); Prospect.1 Biennial, New Orleans; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Museion, Bolzano and The Art Institute of Chicago (2009); Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; Museum Tinguely, Basel and Hayward Gallery, London (2010); Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna; CAC – Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga; IVAM – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencià (2011); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2011/12); Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Belvedere / 21er Haus, Vienna; and Deichtorhallen / Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg (2012).

The most important awards Monica Bonvicini reveiced, are the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennial, 1999 and the Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst, Berlin in 2005.
Several monographs, artist’s books and publications have been published on and by Monica Bonvicini, among them: Monica Bonvicini, Kill your Father, Lübeck 2002; Stefan Bidner (Hg.), (Ed.), CUT – Monica Bonvicini, Cologne 2008; Matthias Mühling, Nikola Dietrich (Eds.), Monica Bonvicini, Cologne 2009; Monica Bonvicini, This Hammer Means Business, Cologne 2009; Rein Wolfs (Ed.), Monica Bonvicini. BOTH ENDS, Cologne 2010; CAC Málaga (Ed.), Monica Bonvicini, A BLACK HOLE OF NEEDS, HOPES AND AMBITIONS, Málaga 2011.

In 2010, Monica Bonvicini won the public competition of the Handball Plaza Light Art Commission in the framework of the London Olympic Games 2012. The large-scale, permanent outdoor sculpture RUN was completed in spring 2012. Earlier in 2010 Monica Bonvicini realized She Lies, a monumental sculpture out of stainless steel and glass panels that measures 12 x 17 x 16 m. The piece is permanently installed and floats amidst the water of the Bjørvika Fjord, in front of the building of the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in Oslo.


Published at DISTANZ Verlag with texts by Monica Bonvicini, Susanne Titz, Dirk Luckow, Harald Falckenberg and Bettina Steinbrügge. 354 pages with 800 illustrations, 58 Euro.

[Translate to English:] Bonvicini

Off the Grid (rage), 2011 Black tempera on paper 271 x 364 cm. Photo: Def Image Courtesy by the Artist
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Untitled (Harness), 2010 Mixed Media on tracing paper 95 x 77.5 cm. Photo: Def Image Courtesy by the Artist
Untitled, 2004 Ink on paper 150 x 90.5 cm. Photo: Def Image Courtesy by the Artist
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Hurricane and Other Catastrophes ( #1), 2008 Black Tempera and spray paint on paper 150 x 189.6 cm. Photo: Jochen Littkemann
Courtesy by the Artist
Ausstellungsansicht. Foto: Henning Rogge / Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Architecture is..., 2002 Ink on paper 160 x 141 cm. Photo: Roberto Marossi Courtesy by the Artist