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.
“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:
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