Rita Bonfim (1956 - )

The Internal Journey - Cross 1 (1992)

Mixed media and etching on hand-made paper
height: 27.5cm
width: 23.5cm

Donated by Rita Bonfim 1993


Before coming to England at the beginning of the eighties, Rita Bonfim was a poet, living and publishing her work in São Paulo. Her training in visual art began in London, and this work dates from the final phase of this process, when Bonfim was completing a post-graduate course in printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Art (1992-1994). Her work from this time onwards incorporates her own journey, from the composition of verse to the practice of visual art.

The complex movements within the personal process of moving from meaning to material are contained within this book work. Here, her writings have slipped from words into illegible images of writing; and these images of writing are doubled as the scribbles of wire that are 'written' across the empty spaces created where consecutive pages have been dissolved by the imposition of a triangular brand.

As is evident from this work, Bonfim approaches printmaking as if was an inevitably sculptural process. In later works (c.1995) she transformed the metal plate used for book-printing into a three dimensional page, puncturing it with spiral binding and wrapping it with spidery copper words that appear to crawl over the metal surface of the plate.

Bonfim's works are concerned with the between; they are at once books and non-books, they are filled with printed pages that are also sculptural objects and these pages are written with marks that want to be words but are not-words. Her process of production is intertwined with her presentation of a completed object. As such her engagement with the written word affirms that there is no secure place in language for meaning, that language is an insecure place: but one to which we must nevertheless entrust the preservation of thought and memory.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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