Louise Bonnet Reflects on the Dead in ‘30 Ghosts'

Louise Bonnet‘s latest exhibition, 30 Ghosts, is a reflection on the lives that have come before us. Opening at Gagosian this November, the works on view were notably inspired by the opening lines in Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): “Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.”

Based in Los Angeles, Bonnet is well-known for painting exaggerated bodily forms that explore themes related to melancholy, nostalgia, lust, and grief. In her forthcoming solo show, she confronts the specter of death through a new series that harks to 17th century Dutch still-life paintings, making use of the vanitas symbols of fruit, flowers and sumptuous drapery with her grotesque human contortions.

Emblematic of her oeuvre, each painting is riddled with dual associations, some contradictory, such as in Red Spider Lily (2023), where Bonnet alludes to the flower as a symbol of death and separation, but alternatively a marker of reincarnation in some cultures, such as those native to Nepal, China, and Korea. “In 30 Ghosts, she again imagines a future haunted by lingering, corporeal remnants of the past,” wrote a release by the gallery.

The exhibition will open on November 8 at Gagosian’s West 24th Street in New York location and run through December 22.

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