* 1981, Mexico City
Since the late nineties, Iñaki Bonillas has established a deep relationship with photography in his work: with a regard for the aesthetics and the conceptual practices of the sixties and seventies, he has been gradually isolating the constituent elements of photography and connecting them with other procedures. Printmaking as a means of transforming archival material is a central focus in Iñaki Bonillas’s practice. By reframing and editing found imagery, and subsequently creating a sense of permanence through the repetition and multiplication inherent to printmaking, he is able to firmly transform his interpretations into a new reality. He gives physical form to the deep-rooted —and often subconscious— process of self-editing we perform throughout our lives. Iñaki Bonillas links elements that are a priori incompatible: a personal, biographical narrative that consists of private anecdotes and emotions on one hand, and the quasi-scientific practices of compiling, classifying, and archiving on the other. In 2003, he introduced the photographic archive belonging to his grandfather, José Rodríguez Plaza, into his work; since that time, its content has undergone a wide range of operations: his grandfather’s black and white photographs are transformed into new narratives, leading us to question our relationship to memory and reality, and the troubling incompatibility that arises between these two defining components of our personal identities. Bonillas's print projects focus on photography as part of our daily lives, consciousness and memory —the vast archive that defines us as individuals. By questioning the editing of the world that all of us constantly perform, his photographic works evoke the impossible relationship between reality and memory, and the power of the image itself.
Iñaki Bonillas’s first exhibition at kurimanzutto explores and interrogates what painter and filmmaker Robert Bresson called “the intelligence of the hands.” The artist is interested in studying the ability of hands to automatically and instinctively create objects. In this vein, Bonillas investigates how these abilities are slowly disappearing due to increasing technological evolution and the loss of manual skills.
The name of the exhibition comes from a title of a 1946 text by Hannah Arendt1. In “No Longer, Not Yet,” Arendt explains the existence of a no man's land—an empty space— where
things from the past don’t disappear but continue to exist in a placeless and timeless state. Bonillas’s practice employs manual techniques related to analog photography that are becoming more and more archaic and rare. Like the disappearing complexity of a type-face printing press or a film camera, a single button increasingly achieves what trained and skilled hands only recently took years to learn.
Ya no, todavía no (No Longer and Not Yet) explores the artisanal production of a book—with the merging of various work processes—as the axis of reflection for the entire project. Bonillas worked with an extensive team of collaborators in Mexico City to produce the works for this
show. Specializing in papermaking, heliogravure, movable typefaces, darkroom photo development, illuminated manuscripts, and book binding, the anachronistic skills of these artisans contributed to the resulting investigation.
Within the gallery space, the exhibition is organized by a series of dividing screens superimposed on each other, both veiling and unveiling parts of the exhibition. By hiding and
revealing selected components Bonillas highlights the processes involved in creation of a book, and the numerous, invisible hands that participate in its production. Bonillas pays tribute to all the unseen hands that allow not only the creation of a book (The Book of Processes, 2018), but also the assembly of an elaborate art exhibition. It is essentially a type of farewell to a hand-operated language which, today, has very little to do with the carrying out of various processes for the creation of books, images, and prints.
about the artist
Among Iñaki Bonillas’s most recent solo exhibitions are: Secrets, as part of Estancia Femsa, Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City (2017) and Arxiu J. R. Plaza, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2012). His work has also been included in exhibitions and institutions such as Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico City, 1990-2000, The Galleries at Moore, Philadelphia (2015); Punctum, Salzburger Kunstverein (2014); The Imminence of Poetics, 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012); Beyond, KUMU Art Museum, Tallin (201 1); Poule!, Jumex Collection, Mexico City (2012); Resisting the Present, Amparo Museum, Puebla, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (201 1 & 2012); Little Theater of Gestures, Kunstmuseum Basel and Malmö Konsthall (2009); Intervention to the Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona (2005); Little History of Photography, MUHKA, Antwerp (2003); Utopia Station, 50th Venice Biennial (2003) and Locus Focus, Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem (2001).
Iñaki Bonillas lives and works in Mexico City.