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Ángela Bonadies Creates New Connections Through Excavation of Archives

Ángela Bonadies, "Palacio Negro/Black Palace (detail), 2011-2012. 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each. Duratrans in lightboxes. | Photo: Courtesy of the artist
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In partnership with 18th Street Arts Center: 18th Street Arts Center is an artists' residency program that provokes public dialogue through contemporary art-making.

Archives usually have a stuffy quality to them. They become stale repositories that gather dust. Until someone like Venezuelan artist Ángela Bonadies comes along to breathe new life and create fresh new connections to the present using these remnants of the past.

Bonadies grew up in a large family in Venezuela. She says in a previous 18th Street Art Center video, “One of my biggest influences is belonging to a family of storytellers.” Bonadies lived in a house with seven siblings, her parents and also four aunts. By observing the way stories are told, understood and re-told within that diverse household, she was able to see how tales are mixed and re-mixed in a new ways depending on the current context.  Bonadies also received training in architecture at the Central University of Venezuela, where she saw the ways architecture related to people and vice versa.

She brings these two influences together in her latest work, which is centered around David Alfaro Siqueiros’ controversial censored muralAmérica Tropical.”

“The story moved me in the sense of the different layers that kept unveiling a work of art that was performed, censored, covered in white, discussed, restored, mystified and interpreted,” says Bonadies in the video, “It is a story that highlights many tensions and that allows a discussion about the visibility and invisibility, censorship, crossing out and history of infamy.”

Starting with the explanatory text available at the América Tropical Interpretative Center, Bonadies began to cross out, erase and cover words and sections, creating a new text out of the underlying original and allowing viewers to rediscover the text once again.

Learn more about Bonadies and her latest work in the video below:


Bonadies' work is now published in "Downward Spiral: El Helicoide’s Descent from Mall to Prison," a book about Venezuela's El Helicoide, a drive-through shopping center that is now abandoned and repurposed into the headquarters for national intelligence and security police agencies, as well as a prison.  She is also exhibiting at Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center in "The Matter of Photography in the Americas" along with artists from eleven other countries.

See other works by Bonadies below: 

Ángela Bonadies, "Heliamphora Heterodoxa" from the series "Las personas y las cosas / People & Things," 2006-2010, 44" x 51", C-print. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
1/5 "Heliamphora Heterodoxa" is part of the series "Las personas y las cosas/People & Things." Here, Bonadies photographs the collections of an entomologist, a botanist, the archive of the National Cinematheque of Venezuela, trophies of a marathon runner, and many more private and public collections.Ángela Bonadies, "Heliamphora Heterodoxa" from the series "Las personas y las cosas/People & Things," 2006-2010. 44" x 51." C-print. | Courtesy of the artist
Ángela Bonadies, "Gato Doméstico" from the series "Las personas y las cosas / People & Things," 2006-2010, 44" x 51", C-print. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.
2/5 By preserving and organizing these collections in the series, "Las personas y las cosas / People & Things," the artist uplifts the importance of these objects.Ángela Bonadies, "Gato Doméstico" from the series "Las personas y las cosas/People & Things," 2006-2010. 44" x 51." C-print. | Courtesy of the artist
Ángela Bonadies, "Palacio Negro / Black Palace" (detail), 2011-2012, 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each, Duratrans in lightboxes. Courtesy of the artist.
3/5 This photo series explores El Palacio Negro de Lecumberri (The Black Palace of Lecumberri), in Mexico City. Ángela Bonadies, "Palacio Negro/Black Palace" (detail), 2011-2012. 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each. Duratrans in lightboxes. | Courtesy of the artist
Ángela Bonadies, Palacio Negro / Black Palace (detail), 2011-2012, 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each, Duratrans in lightboxes, Courtesy of the artist
4/5 In this series, the artist also documents herself interacting with Mexico's national archive. Ángela Bonadies, "Palacio Negro/Black Palace" (detail), 2011-2012. 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each. Duratrans in lightboxes. | Courtesy of the artist
Ángela Bonadies, Resistencia from the series Fragile/West Side, 2016, 21,3" x 24,8", Intervened page of an art book, Courtesy of the artist
5/5 The images for her exhibition at Venezuelan gallery Abra Caracas are interventions within a book about Venezuelan modern painter, Armando Barrios. The exhibition title "West Side" refers to the current state of breakdown in Venezuela. Ángela Bonadies, "Resistencia" from the series "Fragile/West Side," 2016. 21,3" x 24,8." Intervened page of an art book. | Courtesy of the artist

Top Image: Ángela Bonadies, "Palacio Negro/Black Palace (detail), 2011-2012. 18 duratrans 16" x 24" each. Duratrans in lightboxes. | Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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