Jonathan Monk



Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi
29 June – 14 July

Torre Bonomo, Via della Basilica 8, Spoleto


A Mahler & LeWitt Studios project with the Torre Bonomo and Galleria Valentina Bonomo, curated by Vittoria Bonifati

Supported by Galleria Valentina Bonomo and Galleria Massimo Minini
Produced in collaboration with La Gioconda, Deruta and Viaindustriae, Foligno

Opening: 29.06, 10.00–19.00 (tour 10.00)
Opening hours:
Thursday to Sunday, 10.30–13.00 / 16.00–20.00, or by appointment

30.06, 11.30, Palazzo Collicola, Spoleto; Jonathan Monk in conversation with Vittoria Bonifati and Saverio Verini (Director, Musei Civici di Spoleto)

Jonathan Monk’s solo exhibition at the Torre Bonomo presents new work produced during his residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in 2024, including two film works and a series of ceramic sculptures made in Deruta at La Gioconda workshop in response to Sol LeWitt’s work. The Torre Bonomo is a medieval tower in the old town of Spoleto first used as a residency and exhibition space by the pioneering gallerist Marilena Bonomo. In the early 1970s, LeWitt was the Torre’s first resident: using it as a studio he made a seminal group of wall drawings in the tower. The exhibition SL unveils the direct and indirect connections between the work of Jonathan Monk and Sol LeWitt.

Monk is a Berlin-based British artist whose work encompasses a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, photography, film and performance. His practice recalls the procedural strategies typical of Conceptual and Minimalist art of the 1960s and 1970s with a humorous approach often linked to his personal history. Monk reflects on the tendency of contemporary art to devour references; he simultaneously pays homage to figures such as Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman and Lawrence Weiner, whilst demystifying the creative process of art itself and suggesting alternative models for how art and the role of the artist can be interpreted.

Over the last three decades Monk has made a body of work using artist’s books from his personal collection, often destroying them in the process. Among the books are those authored by LeWitt, who was one of the first wave of conceptual artists who helped to establish a new radical framework for the publication-as-artwork. For his solo exhibition in the Torre Bonomo, Monk presents a selection of these works including In Relief (my collection of Sol LeWitt books – exact size, shape and occasionally color), 2016, and the 16mm film A Cube Sol LeWitt photographed by Carol Huebner using nine different light sources and all their combinations front to back back to front forever, (2001). Monk’s videos revisit ideas of serial repetition, re-conceiving LeWitt’s bookworks as a series of still images – sequential lines, colours, geometric forms, and photographic images – without ever transcending the book itself. Among the animations Monk will show two new films made in Spoleto during his residency in 2024: SOLLEWITTONEHUNDREDCUBESCANTZSLOWSLOSEASYNOWFRONTTOBACKBACKTOFR ONT and Sol LeWitt Cock Fight Dance Dancing.

Monk has also realised a new series of ceramic sculptures titled Sol LeWitt Rules, produced at the ceramic workshop La Gioconda, which worked closely with LeWitt on the production of ceramic plates and tiles. Years ago, Monk was gifted a wooden ruler by the gallerist Yvonne Lambert which was believed to be one of the rulers used by LeWitt for his wall drawings. Monk’s ceramic rulers are not perfectly straight, nor do they have numbers or signs for measurements: they are fragile ceramic sculptures that only resemble the shape of a ruler, stripped of its essential function. Sol LeWitt Rules is an edition of 100 and has been generously donated to the Mahler & LeWitt Studios by the artist as a fundraising edition. It is available from the Mahler & LeWitt Studios website for a donation of 120euros.

An artist’s book related to the exhibition has been produced by Viaindustriae, Foligno, and will be available at the opening.

Jonathan Monk was born in Leicester in 1969 and lives and works in Berlin. He has a BFA from Leicester Polytechnic (1988) and an MFA from Glasgow School of Art (1991). Solo exhibitions have been held at the CCA Tel Aviv, Israel (2019); Zentrum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin, Germany (2019); Vox, Montreal, Canada (2017); The Gallery at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (2017); Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, Switzerland (2016); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Rome, Italy (2015); Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland (2014); Centro De Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) Málaga, Spain (2013); Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria (2013); Palais de Tokyo and Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris, France (2008); Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany (2006); Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK (2005); and Museum Kunst Palest, Dusseldorf, Germany (2003). His work has been included in many group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial (2006), the 50th and 53rd Venice Biennales (2003, 2009), Berlin Biennale (2001) and Taipei Biennial (2000). He was awarded the Prix du Quartier Des Bains, Geneva in 2012.

Vittoria Bonifati is a curator based in Rome. She is the artistic director of Villa Lontana, an independent project space initiated in 2018 in collaboration with Jo Melvin. Her research focuses on ancient and contemporary practices both in the field of visual arts and sound. In 2019 she founded the music label Villa Lontana Records (co-runned with Michele Ferrari) focused on archival and unreleased material from the electronic avant-garde and contemporary sound-art scene. She curates the ongoing film program 16MM RUN at the MACRO Museum in Rome, featuring avant-garde and experimental films from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s in 16mm format. Recent projects include the ten-year-long exhibition The Colours of Antiquity at the Capitoline Museums in Rome, La Terra delle Sirene Public Program at the Madre Museum in Naples and Sirenland part of the Italian Pavilion at the 18th International Biennial of Architecture in Venice. Her most recent writings have been published on Octopus Notes, an annual journal of critical and academic essays. Vittoria Bonifati is on the board of Flat Time House, London. She holds a BA in Art History from La Sapienza University of Rome and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London.

Mahler & LeWitt Studios The Mahler & LeWitt Studios offers a program of residencies and special projects based around the former studios of Anna Mahler and Sol LeWitt in Spoleto, Italy. The Torre Bonomo, a medieval tower once used as a residency and exhibition space by the gallerist Marilena Bonomo, is also central to the program. In the early 1970s, Sol LeWitt was the Torre’s first resident and while using it as a studio he realised a seminal group of wall drawings on the kitchen walls of the tower, which continue to offer a unique insight into his production.

Torre Bonomo The Torre Bonomo is a medieval tower in the centro storico of Spoleto once used as a residency and exhibition space by the influential gallerist Marilena Bonomo (1927-2014). In 1971 Marilena Bonomo opened a gallery in Bari and with her first exhibition set a precedent in Italy for showing cutting edge international artists; the exhibition included Robert Barry, Mel Bochner, Alighiero Boetti, Daniel Buren, Hanne Darboven, Jan Dibbets, Luciano Fabro, Douglas Huebler, Sol LeWitt, Giulio Paolini, Robert Ryman and Lawrence Weiner. The gallery remained based in Bari but from 1976, in a medieval tower in the old town of Spoleto, she staged a series of solo exhibitions, often coinciding with the Festival, with Richard Nonas, Sol LeWitt, Giulio Paolini, Richard Tuttle, Jannis Kounellis, Nicola De Maria, Tullio De Gennaro and Osvaldo Licini. It was Marilena Bonomo and her husband Lorenzo who introduced Sol LeWitt to Spoleto, where he would end up living and working continuously throughout the 80s. The old hermitage they owned on Monteluco, overlooking Spoleto, was a vibrant meeting place for artists. In the early 1970s, Sol LeWitt was the Torre’s first artist in residence: using it as a studio he made a seminal group of wall drawings on the kitchen walls of the tower, which continue to offer a unique insight into his production. These drawings were the subject of the monograph Sol LeWitt’s Studio Drawings in the Vecchia Torre (The MIT Press) by Rye Dag Holmboe and Joschi Herczeg, who were the first Mahler & LeWitt Studios residents in a new chapter of artistic activity in the tower. The Torre is steps away from the Mahler and LeWitt Studios on Via Brignone. Our histories are already intimately connected and Valentina Bonomo and the Mahhler & LeWitt Studios have hosted: Valerio Rocco Orlando, Rye Dag Holmboe, Joschi Herczeg, Andrianna Campbell, Annie Godfrey Larmon, Allison Katz, Tony Tremlett, Nicolas Jaar, Will Harris, Rä di Martino, Abbas Zahedi, Nisha Ramayya, Mengting Zhuo and Jessica Tang.

The Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi was founded by the opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 and was one of the first multi-disciplinary arts festivals of its type. It quickly garnered international recognition for developing and promoting avant-garde art. It takes place in June and July each year and makes use of the numerous exhibition and performances venues boasted by the town of Spoleto – including the Teatro Romano, two opera houses, and several churches. The director of the festival is Monique Veaute.