Keeping up with the style of his past exhibitions, called “playful,” “neo-Baroque,” and “barbaric” by various critics, Mattia Bonetti has returned to his longtime home, London’s David Gill Gallery, with another show of imaginative (and unusual) works.
The 14-piece show is a bit of modernism with a touch of surrealism and plenty of winking extravagance, a combination that works so well at David Gill, a purveyor of postmodern irreverence by the likes of Marc Newson and Ettore Sottsass. Bonetti has shown there since 1989.
Not all of the pieces in the new exhibition are immediately recognizable as furniture, but that’s the beauty of them; they toe the fine line between art and design, and sometimes between an armoire and a gift (see the shiny, bronze ribbon-wrapped “Happy Birthday” cabinet), or an armoire and a porcupine (see the frighteningly spiky “Fakir,” a cabinet fit for a medieval torture dungeon). Bonetti’s use of high end materials — gold leaf, fine leather, polished copper, and the like — doesn’t disguise the whimsy of his work. Through its armor of dark lacquered wood and pipes of steel for example, the humor in his reflective “Organ” cabinet still shines through.