Friday, November 11, 2011

studio visit with Anthony Bondi

Entering Anthony Bondi's back yard is like finding yourself in an art installation playground designed to appeal to adults as much as children. In recent years Bondi has developed a reputation for installing large interactive works at the Burning Man festival, including Merry-go-down and Jigglator in 2009, Iron Curtain in 2005 and Deus Ex Machina in 2004.
After these works have been enjoyed by the huge festival crowd, Bondi looks for ways to give them a longer lifespan. Deus Ex Machina aka Homey Paradise (top left) has spent time at the Lied Discovery Children's Museum and some of the larger pieces now decorate Bondi's back yard patio. Always considering the visual potential of objects, Bondi has reinvented these installations as photo-shoot environments. His 2010 series of photographs feature seductive women frolicking within these tactile installations - the kind of behavior not usually condoned in art museums.
Bondi, however, has a vision of freeing up the entrenched ways we view and participate in our environments. Having witnessed many viewers either refraining uncertainly from touching the artworks, or sometimes being too enthusiastic in their play and over-stressing components, Bondi is always considering ways to make the artworks robust enough to allow interaction, while maintaining their delicate, mobile aesthetic.
Earlier collage works also evidence this interest in interactions within environments. Influenced by the themed Strip hotels, Bondi has created a collage featuring Lady Liberty reaching out to an MGM lion, while an Excalibur knight charges in to effect a rather unnecessary rescue. Bondi succinctly sums up the development of Las Vegas "We will take disparate objects and find an order amongst them and define a culture".
The image bottom right is courtesy Anthony Bondi's website.

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