Your currently viewing RAW Modern | Switch to RAW Contemporary

Bona de Mandiargues (1926-2000)

Series of the colimaçonneries, 1973

Catalogue essay by Blanche Llewellyn

“In the physical world, I am a woman and I must accept it. But I deny myself  to be merely a woman for reasons of creative energy. Women have been relegated to mediocre, despicable roles; they have been left with only frivolity. I, on the other hand, seek to possess sobriety, rigor, and measure, virtues that men have kept for themselves. Today, I am both man and woman in unity, I am like two forces that complement each other. The snail realizes this union. Moreover, I do not have a collective spirit. I am alone like a snail. I enter entirely into my shell. No one from the outside can see the bottom of it” (Bona de Mandiargues, quoted by Alain Jouffroy in “Double présentation de la peinture de Bona” ( The Galerie de Seine, 1974).

In her series of artworks, the “Colimaçonneries” from the 1970s, Bona drew inspiration from the snail to create erotic sketches. For Bona, love and eroticism were not merely perceived as a celebration (or as an anxiety) but rather as a means of opposing a certain number of societal rules. She believed that the bisexuality of the snail opened up exciting possibilities: “If the slug mostly has analogies with the vulva and lust, the snail is the representation of the cosmic spiral”.  Additionally, because the snail is hermaphroditic, it is a is self-sufficient creature and as such avoids crises of separation. Through this series of works, Bona transformed her own anguish with sexuality into a powerful artistic expression that released a form of personal liberation.

The  “Colimaçonneries” series was the subject of an exhibition and catalogue at the Galerie de Seine, Paris, (6 – 31 March, 1974).

x W32cm
Signed. Crayon.
Bona de Mandiargues

Bona de Mandiargues (1926-2000)

Bona de Mandiargues (1926-2000) studied at the Beaux-Arts in Modena and then at the Beaux-Arts in Venice where her uncle Filippo de Pisis lived. Her career as a painter began after her marriage to André Pieyre de Mandiargues in 1950 where upon her arrival in France, she met the surrealist group. She exhibited in Paris at Berggruen Gallery, in 1952, with Francis Ponge writing the preface to the catalogue; Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet and diplomat was a big supporter of her work, especially of the group she exhibited in Mexico City in 1959. She also participated in various surrealist exhibitions including "E.R.O.S." at Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris (1959). "Bona paints in a state of distraction conducive to lucidity, and it is undoubtedly through painting that she finds the long-forgotten path. She paints without knowing exactly what, or why, not as one breathes, but as one walks around blindly in an apartment where darkness falls, after sundown.... She looks at the present time with a certain mocking smile, in which one can guess her secret admiration for all that is inexplicable."
Alain Jouffroy, extract from the catalogue of the exhibition "Bona - Colimaçonneries", Galerie de Seine, Paris, 1974