ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maria Elena Bonet

Artist / Photographer / Filmmaker

Based in Gdansk, Poland.

 

The key theme for Maria Elena Bonet is the state of transition and union of times. Maria addresses current events and places them in a very personal and universal historical context. Artist enhances the effect using simultaneously historical photographic techniques and contemporary media in the interpretation of the phenomena around her.

 

Over the last few years, Maria Elena Bonet has been exploring the ideas of national identity and its destruction. Taking into account the history of her family, land, and lived experience, the artist seeks the sources of strength that can help survive in a violent environment. While often metaphorical and poetic, her work is based on actual events. The new project My River, resulting from Bonet’s spiritual and creative explorations, brings together themes of ancestral and national memory, common and personal wounds, and ways of healing. Currently Maria is working on metaphorical reading and expression of the theme of freedom with her next work Betrothal to the Sea. While in My River the author speaks of the indestructible free spirit as a given of every human being, Betrothal to the Sea is an attempt to acquire this state of freedom. Thus Betrothal to the Sea, deeply rooted in the previous project, is its natural continuation and completion, like a river flowing into the sea.

 

Maria Elena was born in Minsk in 1986. She studied design and photography at the Belarusian State Art Academy where she graduated from in 2009. Since 2007, inspired and educated in the studio of Albert Tsehanovich and later of Andrei Voskresenski she has focused on analog photography and gelatin silver process, and has been creating artworks using alternative photographic processes, such as gum bichromate, tin process, cyanotype. These techniques have become the artist’s unique tool for formulating her own poetic language in photography. The labour-intensive and slow processes help her reveal the essence of the objects and phenomena in the surrounding reality. Maria has created more than 10 art projects and exhibited repeatedly in Europe. Since 2017 Bonet has been leading the author’s master classes on manual photography.

 

In 2018 Maria started to make video. This practice evolved into multimedia projects involving photography, video, sound, and light. 

Starting in 2019 Maria Elena Bonet has been represented by art galleries in France and Spain: La Galerie Rouge, Paris (2019–2022), Galería F&deO, Madrid (since 2021)

In 2021 she was awarded the Gaude Polonia scholarship and moved to Poland, where she currently lives and works. In 2022 Bonet started her theoretical research of the history of analog photography in Belarus and Poland at the Warsaw University. 

 

Awards:

2021 the Source series, 1st prize of the Month of Photography, Grenoble, France

2021 video My River, short film competition, ValdarnoCinema Film Festival, Cinema Masaccio di San Giovanni, Valdarno, Italy

2020 My River project nominated for the National Fine Arts Award: Art Photography, Minsk, Belarus. Maria Bonet withdrew the project from the competition in solidarity with a censored artist and the victims of state violence in Belarus

2020 1st prize of the National Competition Art of the Book, design of book Savva Sivko by N. Savchenko, Minsk

2017 Maria's artwork is included in the top 100 original photographs of the 19th–21st centuries according to the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO in St. Petersburg

2009  2nd prize of the republican project Minsk Pictures: Private Life,  NOVA Gallery, Minsk

 

Laureate of scholarships:

2022 Cultural Scholarship of the City of Gdansk, Poland; the Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship for artistic projects, Poland; K. Kalinowski Scholarship Program, Poland

2021 Gaude Polonia,  the programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Poland

 

 

Solo exhibitions:

My River

- Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art / Warsaw, Poland, 2022

Instytut Kultury Willa Decjusza / Krakow, Poland, 2022

- ZAl#2, Palace of Art / Minsk, Belarus, 2020  

 

Home

- La Chapelle de Rosaire, le festival Promenade Photographique de Yenne / France, 2021

- National Historical Museum / Belarus, Minsk, 2012

 

There is nothing that could not be a cloud 

– ROOMS / Minsk, Belarus, 2019  

 

Marionetta 

Gallery "Art-Belarus" / Minsk, Belarus, 2017  

 

Night and Day

– Museum of Contemporary Art / Minsk, Belarus, 2015  

The main collective exhibitions:

 

•  Video projection of the My River project within OKO orchestra performance – SPRAVA Festival, White Church / Belarus, 2021

•  Le Mois de la Photo – Ancien musée de Peinture / Grenoble, 2021

    Long list in 2020

•  Promenade Photographique de Yenne – la Chapelle de Rosaire / Yenne, 2021

•  Photo-Art Festival MOST-21 – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2021

•  Hostages – New Belarus Art project – St. Petri Kirche / Hamburg, 2020

•  Correspondances – La Galerie Rouge / Paris, 2020

•  International Art festival Art-Minsk – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2020 – 2018

•  Libros-objeto/Cajas de autor – Desvan Blanco space gallery / Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 2019

•  Autumn salon with Belgazprombank – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2019 – 2016

•  La Passeggiata – Galerie Agathe Galliard / Paris, 2019

•  Lyubchansky region. People and time – The National Historical Museum / Minsk, 2019

•  Today and tomorrow – Arka gallery / Vilnius, 2018

•  ROSPHOTO’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition – the best original photos, received in the collection from 2002 to 2017 – the State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO / Saint-Petersburg, 2017

•  Open Youth – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2017

•  Photo project The Odyssey – National Center for Contemporary Arts / Minsk, 2017

•  Photogram and gum arabic – Mastatski Mayontak / Minsk, 2016

•  International exhibition dedicated to the 155th anniversary of the first color photography Aspiration for color – the State Russian Museum of Photography / Nizhny Novgorod, 2016

•  Project Likht-art – Gallery of the Belarusian Union of Designers / Minsk, 2015

•  International Festival of Pinhole Photography Playing Classics – Museum of the Belarusian Cinema History / Minsk, 2015

•  Polonaise – Republican exhibition dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Michal Kleofas Oginsky – Palace of Arts /  Minsk, 2015

•  Steps – Gallery” University of Culture” / Minsk, 2015

•  The Minsk School of Photography. 1960’s–2000’s – The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO /  Saint-Petersburg, 2014

•  International Exhibition Photo Project – Cultural and Exhibition Center The Tenishevs / Smolensk, 2014

•  Photo project Metamorphosis – The National Historical Museum / Minsk, 2012

•  Photomania – International Photographic Biennale / Kaliningrad, 2011

•  Photo project Continuation – Museum of Contemporary Art / Minsk, 2010

Publications:

 

• The work from the My River project was selected for the cover of poetry book "Music for the Dead and Resurrected" by Valzhyna Mort / Swedish edition, 2021

• The work from the Mistletoe series was selected for the cover of book “Aquarium” by Siarhiej Kalenda / Minsk, 2020

• catalog of the international art festival “Art-Minsk” / 2020 – 2018

• “Bolshoi” magazine / Minsk, 2019, 2010

• catalogues “Autumn Salon with Belgazprombank” / Minsk, 2019 – 2016

• album-catalogue “The local design. Persons and objects” / Minsk, 2016

• album-catalogue “The Minsk School of Photography. 1960’s–2000’s” / Saint-Petersburg, 2014

• album “Metamorphoses” / Minsk, 2014

• album-catalogue “Volga Biennale” / Nizhny Novgorod, 2014

• album “Continuation” / Minsk, 2010

• album “Minsk photos. Private life” / Minsk, 2009

 

Maria's works are in collections of: National Center for Contemporary Arts (Minsk), Art-Belarus Gallery (Minsk), The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO (Saint-Petersburg), The State Russian Museum of Photography (Nizhny Novgorod) and in private collections around the world.

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