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Cosima von Bonin’s presentation in Venice features WHAT IF THEY BARK 01-08 (2022) – a school of fish and sharks perched atop the entrance of the Giardini’s Central Pavilion. These anthropomorphic sculptures give the Biennale Arte 2022 an eccentric, satirical twist that is a hallmark of von Bonin’s practice, and they continue her study of the relationships between craft, installation, the hand-made, and the ready-made. The shiny, hard plastic figures exist in stark contrast to their gingham sarongs and flowing scarves. These assemblages also include guitars and surfboards, alluding to von Bonin’s interest in the tension between performance and spectatorship as well as her enduring love of music.

Cosima von Bonin - Biennale Arte 2022 - Viewing Room - Petzel Gallery

Installation view, Biennale Arte 2022, The Milk of Dreams

Hanging from the Central Pavilion’s ceiling are two crustaceans: SCALLOPS (GLASS VERSION) (2022) and HERMIT CRAB (GLASS VERSION) (2022). VENICE 1984 (2022) – the only freestanding piece – has two graceful dolphins suspended over a motorboat. Her work contains contrasts that are brash and absurd in order to explore how pop-culture, manufacturing, and the nostalgia of leisure can be boundless.


Cosima von Bonin, WHAT IF THEY BARK 01-08

Cosima von Bonin



4 large mackerals, 2 small mackerals, 2 sharks with rockets

74.8 x 51.2 x 47.2 inches

190 x 130 x 120 cm