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Louise Bonnet

Louise Bonnet, Couple with Lemons, 2023 Oil on linen, 60 × 72 inches (152.4 × 182.9 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Couple with Lemons, 2023

Oil on linen, 60 × 72 inches (152.4 × 182.9 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Lemon and Foot, 2023 Oil on linen, 30 × 40 inches (76.2 × 101.6 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Rob McKeever

Louise Bonnet, Lemon and Foot, 2023

Oil on linen, 30 × 40 inches (76.2 × 101.6 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Rob McKeever

Louise Bonnet, Pisser Triptych, 2022 Oil on linen, in 3 parts, overall: 84 × 284 inches (213.4 × 721.4 cm), Moderna Museet, Stockholm© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Pisser Triptych, 2022

Oil on linen, in 3 parts, overall: 84 × 284 inches (213.4 × 721.4 cm), Moderna Museet, Stockholm
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Projection 2, 2022 Oil on linen, 84 × 144 inches (213.4 × 365.8 cm), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Charlie White

Louise Bonnet, Projection 2, 2022

Oil on linen, 84 × 144 inches (213.4 × 365.8 cm), Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Charlie White

Louise Bonnet, Red Pantyhose, 2022 Oil on linen, 84 × 70 inches (213.4 × 177.8 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Red Pantyhose, 2022

Oil on linen, 84 × 70 inches (213.4 × 177.8 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Stacked Sphinx, 2021 Oil on linen, 60 × 72 inches (152.4 × 182.9 cm), Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Ed Mumford

Louise Bonnet, Stacked Sphinx, 2021

Oil on linen, 60 × 72 inches (152.4 × 182.9 cm), Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Ed Mumford

Louise Bonnet, Leaking Sphinx, 2021 Pencil on paper, 19 × 24 inches (48.3 × 61 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Leaking Sphinx, 2021

Pencil on paper, 19 × 24 inches (48.3 × 61 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Seated Sphinx Pink Marble, 2021 Pencil on paper, 24 × 19 inches (61 × 48.3 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Seated Sphinx Pink Marble, 2021

Pencil on paper, 24 × 19 inches (61 × 48.3 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Calvary with Potato, 2020 Oil on linen, 72 × 120 inches (182.9 × 304.8 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Calvary with Potato, 2020

Oil on linen, 72 × 120 inches (182.9 × 304.8 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Vespers, 2020 Oil on linen, 72 × 60 inches (182.9 × 152.4 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, Vespers, 2020

Oil on linen, 72 × 60 inches (182.9 × 152.4 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Louise Bonnet, The Cyclops, 2018 Oil on linen, 72 × 120 inches (182.9 × 304.8 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Lee Tyler Thompson

Louise Bonnet, The Cyclops, 2018

Oil on linen, 72 × 120 inches (182.9 × 304.8 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Lee Tyler Thompson

Louise Bonnet, Interior with Pink Blanket, 2019 Oil on linen, 72 × 96 inches (182.9 × 243.8 cm)© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Rob McKeever

Louise Bonnet, Interior with Pink Blanket, 2019

Oil on linen, 72 × 96 inches (182.9 × 243.8 cm)
© Louise Bonnet. Photo: Rob McKeever

About

The figures that populate Louise Bonnet’s paintings and works on paper walk a line between beauty and ugliness, between absurdist, knockabout comedy and extreme psychological and physiological tension. Inhabiting sparse, eerie landscapes and boxed in by the edges of the canvas or the page, they act out dramas of profound discomfort that plumb the depths of the artist’s subconscious. Drawing on a range of sources, from Old Master painting to Surrealism and underground comix, Bonnet toys with signifiers—of gender and sexuality in particular—in a playfully confrontational style. Her subjects are at once monumental in scale and diminished in capacity, their limbs grotesquely bloated and their eyeless faces partially obscured by dense caps of hair.

Bonnet was born in Geneva, where she attended the Haute école d’art et de design. In 1994 she moved to Los Angeles for “a year off” and never left. In 2008, having worked in illustration and graphic design, she launched her career as an artist with a solo exhibition at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles, a gallery and project space founded by Shepard Fairey and Blaize Blouin. Five years later a move from acrylic paint into oils led Bonnet to new creative possibilities by allowing her to introduce a greater sense of light and volume to otherwise stark compositions. The change of medium also heralded a diversification and sharpening of themes and references; still focused on depicting the human body in extremis, she intensified her approach, combining the mordant wit of Philip Guston with the nuanced chiaroscuro of Caravaggio.

The representation of sex in Bonnet’s work is characterized by manic exaggeration and physical restraint. It also has a dreamlike quality that recalls such disturbing concoctions as René Magritte’s The Rape (Le viol) (1934), in which a nude female torso is recast as a face, and Hans Bellmer’s controversial sculptures of pubescent female dolls. Gender in Bonnet’s work is usually either overstated through cartoonlike inflation or left indeterminate, allowing the figures to function as universal stand-ins for unconscious drives and anxieties. In some images, this signature approach to the human figure is combined with an exploration of Christian imagery and its history in European painting.

Louise Bonnet and Stefanie Hessler

In Conversation
Louise Bonnet and Stefanie Hessler

Gagosian hosted a conversation between Louise Bonnet and Stefanie Hessler, director of Swiss Institute, New York, inside 30 Ghosts, the artist’s exhibition of new paintings at Gagosian, New York. The pair explores the work’s recurring themes—the cycles of life, continuity and the future, and death—and discuss how the conceptual and pictorial structures Bonnet borrows from seventeenth-century Dutch still-life painting converge to form a metaphor for hard labor, basic animal urges, and the things we often try, but fail, to hide.

A woman stares forward and stands with her arms raised and draped in a white cloak.

Body Horror: Louise Bonnet and Naomi Fry

Cultural critic Naomi Fry joined Louise Bonnet for a conversation on the occasion of Louise Bonnet Selects, a film program curated by the artist as part of a series copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph. The pair discussed how the protagonists of the seven selected films are ruled, betrayed, changed, or unsettled by their bodies, focusing on David Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979).

Louise Bonnet in front of her painting

In Conversation
Louise Bonnet, Johanna Burton, and Celinda M. Vázquez

Join Gagosian for a panel discussion with Louise Bonnet; Johanna Burton, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Celinda M. Vázquez, chief external affairs officer of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA), on the occasion of Bonnet’s donation to PPLA of the proceeds from the sale of her painting Red Study (2022).

Louise Bonnet in front of her painting Red Study, 2022, oil on linen, picturing a distorted female figure in a powerful stance, feet firmly planted and moving forward. Her hand is digging into the flesh of her hip and a red conical shape streams down from between her legs.

Louise Bonnet: On “Red Study” and Supporting Reproductive Rights

Louise Bonnet speaks with Freja Harrell about her new painting, her donation to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and the role of art in the fight for reproductive justice.

Louise Bonnet, Green Pantyhose, 2022

Louise Bonnet and Dodie Bellamy

Poet and novelist Dodie Bellamy visits the artist Louise Bonnet at her Los Angeles studio as she prepares for an exhibition of new works in Hong Kong and the inclusion of one of her paintings in the 59th Biennale di Venezia. The two discuss the power of horror, the intensity of memory, and their creative processes.

Louise Bonnet working in her studio on a new painting

Behind the Art
Louise Bonnet: Onslaught

Join Louise Bonnet in her Los Angeles studio as she works on new paintings ahead of her exhibition Onslaught, at Gagosian, Hong Kong.

Takashi Murakami cover and Andreas Gursky cover for Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2022 magazine

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022

The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).

Louise Bonnet, Resting Sphinx Black Background, 2021, colored pencil on paper, 24 x 19 inches (61 x 48.3 cm)

Louise Bonnet: Sphinxes

Ali Subotnick investigates the artist’s surreal new series of drawings.

Installation view, Louise Bonnet: The Hours, Gagosian, Park & 75

Louise Bonnet: The Hours

The artist describes her new body of work from her Los Angeles studio.

Still from Vertigo (1958), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Photo: PARAMOUNT PICTURES/Ronald Grant Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

Shortlist
Five Films: Louise Bonnet

Los Angeles painter Louise Bonnet reminisces about the films that influenced her development as an artist.

Louise Bonnet in her Los Angeles studio, 2020

Louise Bonnet

Filmmaker and author Miranda July joined Louise Bonnet on a video call to discuss life during lockdown, the luminosity of oil paint, and Bonnet’s forthcoming exhibition of new work. Longtime friends—and newly neighbors—the two reflect on their shared history and shared interests in the unconscious, vagueness, and the mixture of humor and pain.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Left: Louise Bonnet. Right: Stefanie Hessler

In Conversation

Louise Bonnet
Stefanie Hessler

Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 6:30pm
Gagosian, 541 West 24th Street, New York

Join Gagosian for a conversation between Louise Bonnet and Stefanie Hessler, director of Swiss Institute, New York, inside 30 Ghosts, the artist’s exhibition of new paintings at Gagosian, New York. The pair will explore the work’s recurring themes—the cycles of life, continuity and the future, and death—and discuss how the conceptual and pictorial structures Bonnet borrows from seventeenth-century Dutch still-life painting converge to form a metaphor for hard labor, basic animal urges, and the things we often try, but fail, to hide.

Register

Left: Louise Bonnet. Right: Stefanie Hessler

Jean Prouvé’s 1947 demountable wood chair CB 22 in the Gagosian Shop, New York

Visit

Madison Avenue Spring Gallery Walk 2023

Saturday, May 20, 2023, 10am–6pm
New York
madisonavenuebid.org

Join Artnews and the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District on a springtime walk to visit over sixty galleries that line Madison Avenue from East 57th to East 86th Streets. The Gagosian Shop is featuring an installation dedicated to Jean Prouvé’s 1947 demountable wood chair CB 22, alongside Rachel Feinstein’s newly launched ring collection with Ippolita and the Jewish Museum, and the latest Gagosian publications, including Louise Bonnet: Recent Paintings. An exhibition by Donald Judd spanning the 980 and 976 Madison Avenue galleries is also on view.

Jean Prouvé’s 1947 demountable wood chair CB 22 in the Gagosian Shop, New York

Still from The Brood (1979), directed by David Cronenberg

Screening and Talk

Louise Bonnet
Naomi Fry

Saturday, May 20, 2023, 7pm
Metrograph, New York
metrograph.com

Join Louise Bonnet and cultural critic Naomi Fry for a conversation and screening on the occasion of Louise Bonnet Selects, a film program curated by the artist as part of a series copresented by Gagosian and Metrograph. The pair will discuss how the protagonists of the seven selected films are ruled, betrayed, changed, or unsettled by their bodies, focusing on David Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979). After the talk, this psychological body horror film, in which a man tries to uncover the unconventional therapy techniques being used on his institutionalized wife amid a series of brutal murders, will be screened.

Purchase Tickets

Still from The Brood (1979), directed by David Cronenberg

See all News for Louise Bonnet

Museum Exhibitions

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2015, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut © Richard Prince

Just Opened

Effetto Notte
Nuovo Realismo Americano

Through July 14, 2024
Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome
barberinicorsini.org

This exhibition’s title was borrowed from a work by Lorna Simpson, Day for Night (2018), which translates to Effetto Notte in Italian. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Flaminia Gennari Santori in collaboration with the Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, the exhibition features more than 150 artworks from the collection of Tony and Elham Salamé that interrogate the meanings and functions of figuration in contemporary art and address questions around the notion of realism and the representation of truth in painting. Work by Derrick Adams, Louise Bonnet, Maurizio Cattelan, Urs Fischer, Theaster Gates, Duane Hanson, Rick Lowe, Richard Prince, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Sterling Ruby, Anna Weyant, Stanley Whitney, and Christopher Wool is included.

Richard Prince, Untitled, 2015, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut © Richard Prince

Installation view, Entanglements: Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman at Hollyhock House, Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, February 15–June 24, 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Louise Bonnet, © Adam Silverman. Photo: Josh White

Closed

Entanglements
Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman at Hollyhock House

February 15–June 24, 2023
Hollyhock House, Los Angeles
hollyhockhouse.org

Entanglements is the first artist intervention at Hollyhock House, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the first formal collaboration for the Los Angeles–based couple Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman. In dialogue with the site, Bonnet’s paintings and drawings and Silverman’s ceramics engage the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed house’s hundred-year history as a platform for artists and experimentation.

Installation view, Entanglements: Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman at Hollyhock House, Hollyhock House, Los Angeles, February 15–June 24, 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Louise Bonnet, © Adam Silverman. Photo: Josh White

Louise Bonnet, Pisser Triptych, 2022 © Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Closed

59th Biennale di Venezia
The Milk of Dreams

April 23–November 27, 2022
Giardini and Arsenale, Venice
www.labiennale.org

The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani for the 59th Biennale di Venezia, takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly reenvisioned through the prism of the imagination. With works by 213 artists from fifty-eight countries, the exhibition focuses on three thematic areas in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, the relationship between individuals and technologies, and the connection between bodies and the Earth. Work by Louise Bonnet and Jadé Fadojutimi is included.

Louise Bonnet, Pisser Triptych, 2022 © Louise Bonnet. Photo: Jeff McLane

Ewa Juszkiewicz, Ginger Locks, 2021 © Ewa Juszkiewicz

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Fire Figure Fantasy
Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection

May 12–October 16, 2022
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
icamiami.org

Fire Figure Fantasy is the first exhibition to showcase the permanent collection of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, with a focus on recent acquisitions. The presentation revolves around important focal points of the collection: social justice, newly emerging technologies, and recent global crises that challenge and reconfigure museum institutions themselves. Work by Louise Bonnet and Ewa Juszkiewicz is included.  

Ewa Juszkiewicz, Ginger Locks, 2021 © Ewa Juszkiewicz

See all Museum Exhibitions for Louise Bonnet