The Idler’s Playground of Cosima von Bonin

18.00-20.00 Opening of the exhibition at Witte de With – Center for Contemporary Art
20.00-20.15 After the opening, guides will lead you to the Hofplein
20.15-21.15 Unveiling of The Idler’s Playground with performance by Coolhaven
21.00-02.00 Party hosted by Witte de With and SIR, with DJ set by Moritz von Oswald featuring Tikiman (Berlin), followed by Big City Sound Girl (Bristol) in Grand Hotel Central, Kruiskade 12, Rotterdam

Cosima von Bonin (1962) has created The Idler’s Playground specially for the entrance to the city’s main boulevard, the Coolsingel, which is both prominent and vilified. On the Hofplein, beneath the old plane trees in front of the Hilton Hotel, Von Bonin will site a sculpture in which a Pinocchio-like figure on an umpire’s chair presides over a playground that features an enormous toadstool.

For Von Bonin The Idler’s Playground represents the space that can be occupied by the artist and by art, which is a mirror of life itself. The figure of Pinocchio, whose nose grows whenever he tells lies, evokes perhaps a society whose regulations and mores are at odds with the individual. This allegorical figure is a recurring motif in Von Bonin’s work: her sculpture is an ode to the idler, who watches over a playground of disobedience.

The recurring figure of a rather dejected man with a hat and an extremely long nose appears to act almost as Von Bonin’s mascot. He does not consume, nor work, nor participate in social life and is certainly not a paragon of the good citizen. His five-meter-long nose pierces a mushroom (an almost clichéd symbol of access to the imagination, hallucinations and lucid thinking). Beneath the toadstool, Von Bonin has created a seating area for the visitors to her playground and for tired passers-by.
There are frequent references to laziness, tiredness and loafing in Von Bonin’s work, which features a large number of seemingly exhausted and lethargic stuffed animals. With crossed legs and a resigned attitude, they observe the life around them but refrain from active participation.

Cosima von Bonin is one of the best-known artists of her generation, certainly since her participation in the most recent Documenta in 2007. She is a master of tragicomic and allegorical images and tableaux. Through her use of materials and extreme enlargement, she creates an alienated relationship to everyday objects and familiar figures from popular culture, thus opening up the possibility of multiple narratives. Despite the complex jumble of cultural and art-historical references and autobiographical elements in her works, Von Bonin remains determined to leave the interpretation of her pieces to the viewer.

The Idler’s Playground is part of SIR’s long-term plan for the Coolsingel axis. In preparation for the large-scale restructuring of the city’s main boulevard, SIR has developed a programme of temporary and (semi-)permanent art projects by a new generation of artists for Rotterdam’s most important street. In 2010 saw the siting of Yohei Taneda’s Coolsingel Cube, Atelier van Lieshout’s Cascade on the Churchillplein and the opening of Paola Pivi’s public recording studio Grrr Jamming Squeak.

With thanks to: Hotel Hilton, Dienst Stedenbouw en Volkshuisvesting, Gemeentewerken

At Witte de With, Center for contemporary art, Cosima von Bonin will present an exhibition around the notion of sloth and fatigue. With her typical laconic humor, Von Bonin creates a constellation of new and existing works. From oversized stuffed animals to sewn fabrics, from pastiches of minimalist sculptures to recreations of shop display systems, her work blends formalism and pop, oscillating
between seriousness and fun, weighed down with melancholy or fizzing with critical wit.

Publicatiedatum: 12/05/2015