VIDEO: Take a Deep Dive into Cosima von Bonin’s Mysterious Sculptures

The artist revels in absurd, cartoonish figures and narratives.

Artist Cosima von Bonin is an elusive figure, and she has always maintained a sense of humor with her artwork.

Cartoonish characters abound in the artist’s fabric “paintings” and large-scale stuffed animal sculptures. She continually uses disembodied white-gloved cartoon hands in her works, which lend both comical and aristocratic airs to the stitched fabric canvases, recalling Disney characters as well as ideas surrounding class and service.

Her titles range from the deadpan—such as Non-Zero Enthusiasm (2009), A Life Coach Less Ordinary (2008), and Thrown Out of Drama School (2008)—to nonsensical and judgmental, like Hermit Crab in Fake Royère (2010). Others are oddly branded, like The Bonin/Oswald’s Nothing #04 [CVB’s Purple Kikoy Sloth Rabbit on Pink Table & MVO’s Kikoy Song], from 2010.

The Cologne-based artist, who was born in Mombasa, Kenya, is also known for her extensive collaborations with fellow artists, critics, and musicians from the Cologne scene, where artist Martin Kippenberger once entranced and repelled locals. Von Bonin, like Kippenberger, likes to wrestle with chaos, and also has a deep appreciation for the absurd.

In her solo exhibition at New York’s Petzel Gallery, “CvB Singles Uptown Remix,” von Bonin plays with the strange and familiar with works such as Total Produce (Morality)(2010), where a plush octopus sits atop a platform covered in fabric, accompanied by a thin indigo neon strip underneath the platform. Her fascination with the sea will also be explored in an upcoming show at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, Queens.

In this video, SculptureCenter curator Ruba Katrib speaks to artnet News about Von Bonin’s latest show, at Petzel Gallery’s uptown location, as well as the artist’s upcoming exhibition at SculptureCenter, which is co-curated by Katrib and Glasgow International director Sarah McCrory.

“CvB Singles Uptown Remix” is on view at Petzel Gallery’s uptown location through October 31, 2015. Von Bonin’s exhibition at the SculptureCenter, Long Island City, Queens, takes place September 2016–January 2017.

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