The photographer and plastic artist Francesca Di Bonito, born in 1978 in Naples, has been living in Paris since 2004.
She very early on showed a great feeling for art, which led her quite naturally to study first art history, then photography, at Rome’s Instituto Europeo di Design and later at the Université Paris-I and Paris-VIII.
In addition to her research and creative work around the photographic support, Francesca also worked as a press photographer with French and international media. She also covered great television events, both backstage and on the sets (CANAL+).
In recent years she has devoted herself mostly to her career as a plastic artist, concentrating on the theme of the photographic picture and its future.
Francesca Di Bonito distinguishes herself by a different approach to images: sensitive as she is to the plastic potential of photography, she uses it to tell the stories of lives and of identities.
While always working the photographic medium, she has created a multi-faceted oeuvre. Stepping outside the two-dimensional form of photography proper and drawing on a wide range of languages from the different arts, she has created a protean three-dimensional work.
About my work
As a photographer and a visual artist, I make use of the photographic medium in its quality as tool and support and turn it into a plastic element in its own right.
While photography has always been a starting point with me, I incorporate into it other contemporary practices and processes, such as performances, installations or medical imaging, so that it acquires volume, becoming the base of large sculptural assemblies.
My work further constructs narratives.
It recreates stories, stories depicting and telling episodes of the lives we all live: the past and its memories, reality and all our losses, individuals and what they become in life. In an ironic tone, I use artefacts and simulacra, as well as unexpected parallels between opposites. Not content with the real, biological fate of us all, I go and explore what drives humanity in its social, political and religious contexts.
The narrative framework thus obtained does not however rob each individual image of its own focal point, of what makes it a unique and complex discourse.
I am ever pursuing my exploration of the photographic medium, manipulating and otherwise acting on the photographic support itself, be it manually or digitally, and generally through plastic interference with it.
My works start with the raw figurative aspects of reality, of its ordinary, insignificant objects. Using pictures depicting aspects of ordinary life, rather than with more realistic or classical photography, I reappropriate them, sometimes distorting them and giving them new volume, changing their nature.
A good control of digital techniques as well as of plastic processes allows me to both get in closest touch with reality and, paradoxically, go the way of fiction. Through crossing and crossbreeding, the stories I put forward stop being one-way stories and take the shape of constant toing-and-froing – starting from reality to show the imaginary, the imaginary world I stage brings me back towards the real.
Two sides to a same coin, two aspects of a same being.
Deconstructing reality and constructing fictions thus take turns within the same chronicle of life.
Similarly, my works are staged.
Much like "tableaux vivants", as used amongst others by the Surrealists, this approach guides me through the exploration of a fantastic imagery filled with grotesque figures that stage a whole questioning of sex and identity. Often transfigured, those actors play out stories hinging at the border between reality and fiction, questioning the limitations and the archaic aspects of so-called modernity.
Persons or inorganic objects, be they directed or manipulated, give rise to stories highlighting the interpretation of roles and their social and existential stakes.
Fiction is indeed the prime building stone in my depiction of reality in its most common and shared form – since it is all about telling a life story. Thus love, memory and the body move away from their physiological reality, bringing into mutual play, as is the case with light and shadow, ever opposing life and death. The unavoidable “nature of things”, with its frightful trail of deprivation and hardships, is thus exposed to irony and self-mockery. And it is left to souls to find their way in that fictional world, both cathartic and futile!
In my form of artistic work, the locus where can be read our experience of our relationship with the world is the figurative, more precisely the use of bodies, serving as support both for plastic expression and for writing about our innermost. Bodies provide surfaces for exchange and communication, revealing how they can be suppressed, trivialised, recognised or loved. In my research, bodies are the object of a process of metamorphosis wherein converge sundry tools and processes, the locus of hybridisation work. The result is a set of worlds rich in multiple meanings, that reflect the human condition, and also question social, religious or sexual stereotypes.
Transformed, mutant, subject to their own metamorphosis, the figures of my series, fronting humour and sarcasm, become supernatural beings striding the border between reality and fiction, evoking the innermost and most common aspects of men and their histories.
Her work is regularly shown in France, Europe and America.