Melanie Bonajo 1978

Lives in Amsterdam. Works in Amsterdam.
Represented by:


In her work, Melanie Bonajo examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense for community, equality, and body-politics. Through her videos, performances, photographs and installations, she studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing a sense of belonging in an individual. Captivated by concepts of the divine, Bonajo explores the spiritual emptiness of her generation, examines peoples’ shifting relationship with nature and tries to understand existential questions by reflecting on our domestic situation, ideas around classification, concepts of home, gender and attitudes towards value.

Market position


The Death of Melanie Bonajo How to unmodernize yourself and become an elf in 12 steps.
Melanie Bonajo nam deel aan ArtEZ studium generale's programma SEX & the Sexual Politics of the Gaze op 15 maart 2018.
The Death of Melanie Bonajo How to unmodernize yourself and become an elf in 12 steps.
Maak kennis met de vooruitstrevende jonge kunstenaar Melanie Bonajo. Kom alles te weten over haar artistieke praktijk, de filosofie achter Night Soil en de video-installaties in Foam.


De Keuze van... Margitte Verwoerdt
Melanie Bonajo takes beautiful photos and videos and focuses on respect for the earth, humans and animals. She wants to inspire her audience to reflect on our relationship with nature. In her films, she raises ethical issues in a humorous and perspective-based manner.
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Margitte Verwoerdt (kunsthistorica, zelfstandig adviseur en curator)

Market position

The works by Melanie Bonajo receive great international interest. Her work is part of the most prominent exhibitions and museum institutes in Europe and beyond. At the moment her Trilogie Night Soil can be seen in the Manifesta in Palermo and the Riga Biennale. Bonnefanten Museum that recently purchased its Night Soil Trilogy with installations and a series of photo works, shows the retrospective exhibition "The Death of Melanie Bonajo". Last year Bonajo had a solo exhibition at Frankfurter Kunstverein. Early in the year, Haus der Kunst in Munich screened an installation and film of her in the exhibition "Blind Faith" discussed by Hans den Hartog Jager. In the fall, an installation with her latest film Progress vs Sunsets will be shown in Marta Herford Museum Germany and also in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Bonajo was nominated for the Prix de Rome and is now nominated for the Amsterdam Prize for Art. Melanie Bonajo's work is already part of museum and private collections, including Bonnefanten Museum, Museum De Domeinen, Museum Schunck, Heerlen, Museum Arnhem. Central Museum and Museum Haarlem have recently acquired the film Progress vs Regress. Her work is also part of the ING Collection, ABN AMRO Collection and DSM Collection Netherlands.


Born in 1978, Heerlen, NL Lives and works in Amsterdam and New York. Education 1998-2002 Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, NL 2000 School of Visual Arts, New York City, USA 2006-2007 Master course in Religious Science: Hermetica; Mysticism and Western Esotericism, University of Amsterdam, NL Residencies 2014 International Studio Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York City, USA 2009-10 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL 2011 Künstlerhaus Bethaniën, Berlin, DE 2011 New Zero Art Space, Yangon, MM 2009 FKK Resort, Ada Bojana, ME 2007 The Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Warsaw, PL Awards and nominations (selection) 2018 Amsterdamprijs voor de kunst (nomination) Shortlisted for Prix de Rome 2017 Campaign Artist for Amsterdam Unseen 2017 2016 Shortlisted for the Dutch Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale IFFR Tiger Award for Economy of Love (nomination) 2014 IFFR Tiger Award (nomination) 2013 MKaward (winner) Vermeulen Brauckman Kunstprijs (nomination) 2011 C.o.C.a. (nomination) 2007 PUP Award for Modern Life of the Soul Solo shows (selection) 2018 The Death of Melanie Bonajo, Bonnefantenmuseum, NL 2017 Melanie Bonajo: Single Mother Songs from the End of Nature, Frankfurter Kunstverein, DE 2016 Next Level: Melanie Bonajo — Night Soil, FOAM, Amsterdam, NL Does it matter who orbits?, Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, NO Night Soil—Economy of Love, AKINCI, Amsterdam, NL Nocturnal Gardening, Company Gallery, New York City, USA 2013 Matrix Botanica — Biosphere above Nations, Museum de Pavijoens, Almere, NL So, Does this Hippie Crap really Work? PPOW Gallery, New York City, USA 2011 ****** 86 details of Paradise, Outline, Amsterdam, NL 2010 Physical Landscapes, Rijksakademie Open, Amsterdam, NL 2009 As Thrown Down From Heaven, PPOW Gallery, New York City, USA The Grand Exploring Soul and the Point where History failed, Rijksakademie Open, Amsterdam, NL 2008 Mediummatic (with Kinga Kielczynska), Mediamatic, Amsterdam, NL The Power of Negative Thinking (with Kinga Kielczynska), Mediamatic, Amsterdam, NL 2007 Are All Clichés True?, Modern Art Museum, Ljubljana, SL Group shows (selection) 2018 Genius Loci (Night Soil—Fake Paradise), Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, FR Creatures Made to Measure—Animals and Contemporary Design (Progress vs Sunsets), Martha Herford Museum, DE Bloot/Exposed, (Peeing on Presidents), Museum Kranenburgh, Bergen, NL Freedom of Movement (Progress vs. Sunsets), Stedelijk Museum, Amserdam, NL Guanghzou Triennial (Progress vs. Sunsets), Geungzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China Creatures Made to Measure – Animals and Contemporary Design, Martha Herford Museum, Herford, DE Manifesta 12, Palermo, IT Anima Mundi, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL Haus der Sinnsuche, gutes leben durch Kultur, curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Kunstsaele, Berlin, DE Object Love, de Domijnen, Sittard, NL Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), curated by Katerina Gregos, Riga 2018 Reis naar de toekomst, Tussendiepen, Drachten, NL Blind Faith: Between the Visceral and the Cognitive in Contemporary Art, curated by Julienne Lorz, Daniel Milnes, Anna Schneider, Haus der Kunst, München, DE 2017 Exhibition Prix de Rome 2017, Kunsthal, Rotterdam Homeward Bound, Nicodim gallery, Los Angeles, USA Once more, with feeling, curated by Martine van Kampen, KAF Expo, Almere stad, NL Summer of Love, Schwarz Foundation, curated by Katerina Gregos, Lesbos, GR Ben ik een dier? De Domijnen, Sittard, NL CBK Zeeland, FAÇADE 2017: Face your freedom, Zeeland, NL Screen Present Tense, HDLU, Zagreb Wiener Festwochen - The Conundrum of Imagination, Curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung & Pauline Doutreluingne in collaboration with Leopold Museum Vienna, AU Bienne Festival of Photography, Biel, CH Planetary Garden, curated by Ashley Lumb & Laura Mclean, Manuka Arts Centre, AU Artefact Expo: The Act of Magic, curated by Karen Verschooren & Ilse Huygens, STUK, Leuven, BE Living in Dreams, curated by Els Fiers & Frank Koolen, De Bond Brugge, BE 2016 Give Me Yesterday, curated by Francesco Zanot, Fondazione Prada, IT True Will, curated by Hilde Jorgensen, KNIPSU, Bergen, NO Mattering City, curated by Jussi Koitele, SixtyEight Art Institute, Copenhagen, DK Millennials, Museum Arnhem, NL Culture Pop Marauders, IN EXTENSO at Mains d’Oeuvres, Saint-Ouen, FR Do Boomerangs Always Come Back?, curated by Annemie Van Laethem & Erik Croux, Castle Oud-Rekem, BE Kunstenfestival Watou, Poperinge, BE Reiskoorts / Wanderlust, De Hallen Haarlem, NL What We Have Overlooked, curated by Mirjam Westen, Museum Arnhem at Framer Framed, Amsterdam, NL Eins, zwei, Wechselschritt, curated by Ellen de Bruijne, Art Cologne, DE Hacking Habitat - Art of control, curated by Ine Gevers, Utrecht, NL Close-Up: A New Generation of Film and Video Artists in the Netherlands, EYE, Amsterdam, NL Future Queer, Ark Kültür, Istanbul, TR 2015 6th Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshaven-Heidelberg, DE Oét d’r Sjtub, Schunck, Heerlen, NL Drzava u Krevetu // State Abed, Magacin, Belgrade, SRB 2014 WeberWoche, Stroom, The Hague, NL Still/Life, Dutch Contemporary Photography, travelling exhibition: FOAM, Amsterdam, NL Multimedia Arts Museum, Moscow, PL Perm State Art Gallery and Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum, RU Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, CN When Elephants Come Marching In, De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam, NL The Rock Show, Genk, BE The Personal is Political, State Abed, Split, HR 2013 Dissident Desires, District, Berlin, DE Women Commentators, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, PL Van God Los, Museum voor Psychiatrie, Haarlem, NL Female Power, Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem, NL Quicktime, Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum, St. Petersburg, RU Kaap, Stichting Storm, Utrecht, NL Erogonous zone, ffffff, Berlin, DE 2012 The Future that Was (and Is), Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, NL 20111111111, LEAP Berlin, DE Topsy Turvy, De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, NL 2011 What’s Next, Skor, Tot Zover, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, NL The Second Act, de Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, NL Diversion, Moving-Image Art Fair, New York City, USA 2010 QUICKSCAN NL – New Photography from the Netherlands, Dutch Cultural Centre, Shanghai, CN Private Confessions, The Cello Factory, London, UK Humananimal, Portsmouth Museum of Art, Portsmouth, US Diversion, ArtLA Contemporary, Los Angeles, USA 2009 Too Much of Everything, Y3K, Melbourne, AU Calvin Me, CBK Dordrecht, NL Thank You for Hurting Me, I really Needed it, Gemeentelijke Aankopen, Stedelijk Museum,Amsterdam, NL Rebelle, Art and Feminism 1969-2009, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Arnhem, NL Tenderloveandcare, Galleri Box, Gothenborg, SE 2007 Are All Cliche's True, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, SL Joie de Construction, Peepingtom Gallery, Korean Institute for the Arts, Paris, FR 2006 Budget 10.000 euro, W139, Amsterdam, NL Portaal naar de hemel, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, NL Everyday Is Not Like Everyday, FOAM, Amsterdam, NL Screenings (selection) 2017 Progress vs. Regress, Night Soil - Economy of Love, Die Politik der Freundschaft, Kunstverein Leipzig, DL Matrix Botanica, Gare du Noord, Amsterdam, NL Night Soil - Nocturnal Gardening, Manimal, HAU Berlin, DL Night Soil - Nocturnal Gardening, The Second Nature, Riga Pee on Presidents (plus curating programme Was will das Weib? Das Weib will!), Cinema Erotica, EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam, NL Night Soil - Fake Paradise, KUNSTENFESTIVALDESARTS, Brussels, BE Night Soil - Fake Paradise, Kyiv International Short Film Festival, Kyiv, UA Progress vs. Regress, Beat Film Festival, Moscow, RU Night Soil - Economy of Love, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival, Bucharest, RO 2016 Night Soil - Economy of Love, Perdu, Amsterdam, NL Progress vs. Regress, KNIPSU, Bergen, NO Night Soil - Economy of Love, beursschouwburg, Brussels, BE Night Soil - Economy of Love, 20th Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, CH Night Soil - Economy of Love, Tate Modern: 2016 cinema programme, London, UK Fake Paradise, Museum Folkwang, Essen, DE Night Soil - Economy of Love, International Film Festival Rotterdam Progress vs. Regress, Kunsthalle Basel, CH 2013 Heart of No, Nederlands Film Festival, Utrecht Private life of Animals, Nederlands Film Festival, Utrecht Pee on Presidents, IDFA, Amsterdam Matrix Botanica; Biosphere Above Nations, Witte de With, Rotterdam 2012 White Cosmos, Marrakesh Biennial 2011 Diversion, Moving Image, NYC 2010 Diversion, ArtLA, Contemporary, Los Angeles 2008 Hunting and Gathering, GLU, Amsterdam/Worm, Rotterdam Furniture Bondage, Loops, ParkTV 2006 Mr. and Mrs. Mulder, Berlinale Filmfestival, Berlin Taking Photographs of Things You Want to Forget, Lost&Found, Amsterdam Publications (selection) 2015 Matrix Botanica—Non-Human Persons (Capricious Publishing) 2014 Pee on Presidents (Self Publish Be Happy) 2012 SPHERES (Philippe Karrer) 2009 Furniture Bondage (Kodoijpress) Bush Compulsion, A Primitive Breakthrough in the Mind (Museumpaper) I Have A Room With Everything (Capricious Publishing) 2007 Modern Life Of The Soul (Artist Book) Performance (selection) 2017 Wiener Festwochen - The Conundrum of Imagination Pilgrimage of the Animals, 31 March 2017, 10 pm, Ten days six nights, Tate Modern, London, UK 2016 OthersMother Song, ZaZaZoZo together with Splitter Splatter and Pussy Tutorials, FOAM, Amsterdam, NL Progress vs Regress, Kunsthalle Basel, CH 2015 Liste Art Fair Performance Project Programma, curated by Eva Birkenstock, Basel, CH KAMP KAYA, KUB Arena, Kunsthaus Bregenz, AT Incubate, Tilburg, NL 2014 ZaZaZoZo, QQC, Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL PS1/MoMA, New York City, US 2013 Release of Inua, debut album of ZaZaZoZo (Tsunami Addiction) What is your Jazzzzz, Stedelijk Museum, NL Into The Great Wide Open, Vlieland, NL Fying for Beginners, Kaap, Utrecht, NL 2009 Demons, Devils, Monsters and Other Intermediate Beings (with Joseph Marzolla), Stedelijk Museum BA, Amsterdam, NL 2008 Removing Influence of Places and Objects (with Kinga Kielczynska), Worm, Rotterdam, NL Heilig Vuur, Removing Influences of Places and Objects (with Kinga Kielczynska), Stedelijk Museum, NL Lectures/teaching (selection) 2016 Isa Genzken Through the Eyes of Others: artist talk in response to Iza Genzken’s exhibition ‘Mach dich hübsch!’ Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, NL 2015 School of Visual Arts, New York City, USA Alfred University, Rochester, USA Östersund Akademie, Jämtpland/Härjedalen, SE Cooper Union, New York City, USA Sandberg Institute, Cure Master, Amsterdam, NL Banff Art Centre, Banff, CA 2014 Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, NL 2013 Anarchy (project by Nicoline van Harskamp), Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, NL 2011 (Off)hrs Honolulu, USA Beamclub Amsterdam, NL l’ECAL, Lausanne, CH 2010 School of Visual Arts, The Hague, NL 2008 Aperture Foundation, NYC, USA Parsons School of Design, NYC, USA Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL Press/interviews (selection) NRC Handelsblad, De manipulatie van mens tot object, Hans den Hartog Jager over Blind Faith (Haus der Kunst, München), 28 maart 2018 DeVolkskrant, Mag je een tentoonstelling met een orgasme vergelijken? Nou ja, als het mag, dan hier, bij Melanie Bonajo (*****), Anna van Leeuwen on The Death of Melanie Bonajo, solo show in Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, 29 april 2018 NRC Handelsblad: Object Love zet objecten op een voetstuk, Sandra Smets on ’Object Love’, 16 May 2018 Beeldenmagazine #2: Object Love, jaargang 21, nr. 82 De Gooi en Eemlander: Speelse en kritische kunst, Paola van de Velde on ‘Object Love’, 27 June 2018 H-Art: Het drukkende bezit, on ‘Object Love’, 21 June 2018 Public Seminar, 2017, interview by Bart van der Heide, Goethe Instituut, organised by Kunstvlaai, Amsterdam, NL Berlin Art Link: BOMB - Artists in Conversation: Art Magazine: Metropolis M: Nisimazine: Huffington Post: Foam Magazine ‘Construct’: BOMB—Artists in Conversation: Dazed Digital: Art Forum: ‘One Question, Three Rooms, 44 Possible Answers’ at PPOW Gallery: MK-Award: i-D (Vice) Magazine: Magazines/reviews (selection) Famous#8, Livraison#1, Capricious#1, Glumagazine#1, Nuke#2, Yang (, Janus,Vice, Kutt, Zoo, Bonn, SVA-magazine, Verenigd Sandbergen, Frame Forecast Magazine, Free-Eye, Eye-magazine, Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, Limburgsdagblad, Foam magazine, Delete, Items, NO-Friends, ping-magazine, Queensday book, Presence, Amsterdam Weekly, Neue Zurich Zeitung, Mollusk, Art&Auction,Art & Culture, Curo, Artpress, Blend,Cederteg n#1,GLU #3,livraison 3#, Famous NYC, Gupmagazine, Dazed en Confused, Vorn magazine, That Damm The Duo Issue, Tubelight, NRC next, Les Beaux Arts magazine, Liberation, Art Lovers NYC, WAD magazine, Connaissances des Arts, French Vogue, Artforum Online, Liberation, Ful, '100', Future Images, FOAM magazine, White Wall, Theme, Livraison#3, Future Images, Kunstbeeld, Rebelle, Frieze magazine Issue #135, 100 New Artists, by Francesca Gavin 2011, Openlab magazine, A4 magazine, G.A.G, Missy Magazine. Curatorial/editorial 2014 Night Soil Performance Nights, Baby’s All Right, New York City, USA The Feeling Internet, Mediamatic, Amsterdam, NL Mister Motley Magazine Shared Basement, Kunstenaarsinitiatief Beyonce, Amsterdam, NL Qu’est Ce Que C’est, Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL Writing (selection) FOAM magazine, Metropolis M, Mister Motley, Aperture Magazine, ARTFORUM Web melaniebonajo com