Critics’ Picks

Carola Bonfili, 3412 Kafka, 2017, resin, marble dust, pigment, 8” x 20” x 27”.


Carola Bonfili

smART – polo per l’arte
Piazza Crati, 6/7
November 23 - February 23

When Carola Bonfili learned by chance that an asteroid in our solar system bears the name Kafka, she began a personal investigation into the radical nature of make-believe, marking the beginning of her dynamic invention “3412 Kafka.” This exhibition, curated by Ilaria Gianni, consists of actions and images that attempt to define an elusive future. One project (all works cited titled 3412 Kafka, 2017) results from an educational laboratory hosted by the artist that afforded a group of schoolchildren the opportunity to construct, out of recycled material, three-dimensional planets. Each work, shown on two projectors and a tablet, can be likened to the universe itself: a little known object halfway between fantasy and mystery.

While the artist takes an approach typical of her young generation, she is also deeply invested in the past. For Bonfili, memory is material, a primordial clay ready to be reshaped. In one installation, six sculptural environments made of cement, resin, wood, and marble dust, all made by thermoforming, are presented on plinths. Viewers proceed from a space refuge to a model of a labyrinth, where worn-out walls lead to archeological excavations of a near future and liquid monoliths rise up from drab territories. Imagination becomes history in a virtual-reality simulation whose oneiric rhythm is a result of an accelerated diurnal cycle. The video, which takes viewers through a vaguely terrestrial landscape, dwells on the human inclination to feign scenarios and behaviors, prompting a reflection on the changes technology has wrought on our way of thinking.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.