Galerie Max Hetzler presents a solo exhibition with new works by Louise Bonnet at Bleibtreustraße 45. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition both at the gallery and in Germany.
Known for her paintings of exaggerated proportions and grotesque features Bonnet continually explores emotions of melancholy, loneliness, nostalgia or grief in her works. Her strong sense of corporeality and precise observation of the tension and movements of body parts result in bending extremities, bloated noses, swollen hands and feet. These portraits recall cartoon-like or surrealistic imagery but create a much more subtle and mild tone, often situated in everyday environments and domestic interiors.
Bonnet’s protagonists appear involuntarily stretched. Their bodies seem to reflect a disturbing discomfort, an uneasy state of mind that makes their limbs writhe. Most figures are missing eyes, instead hair covers their complete head with an excessively accurate hairstyle. The artist noted, she prefers the one-way sight onto a work, avoiding the distracting feeling of a painting that is looking back at the viewer.
Bonnet’s recent paintings, presented at Galerie Max Hetzler, are characterised by a rather reduced composition. Mainly nude figures occupy almost the entire surface of the canvas. The artist renounces playful details found in earlier works and instead focusses even more on body and skin folds. The backgrounds remain obscurely coated, conveying an oppressive atmosphere and intensifying the spotlight set on the figures.
Inspirations for her works derive from such multiple sources as Hitchcock film scenes, Cindy Sherman portraits or Lucas Cranach paintings. Usually, these references appear as distorted as the depicted bodies themselves.
Alongside her paintings a selection of drawings allow a further insight into Bonnet’s practice. Often paintings and drawings share the same motifs of postures and gestures. However, due to a less dense and extensive colour application her works on paper appear lighter, adding another perspective to the present subjects.
“The breasts aren’t really breasts anymore, but rather what nipples do to a sweater – which is a lot more interesting. I mean, what is anything except its consequence over something else?” (Louise Bonnet, 2018)