Biënnale 2022Programs and events

Venice Biennale

melanie bonajo is the artist who represents the Netherlands at the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale in 2022. In the Dutch pavilion bonajo presents a new video installation called 'When the body says Yes'. The exhibition takes place at the Dutch pavilion's one-off location for the upcoming edition: the Chiesetta della Misericordia of Art Events in the Cannaregio neighbourhood until November 27, 2022.

Dutch Entry 59th Venice Biennale

  • When: April 23 until November 27 2022
  • Opening hours: Tuesday until Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
    • Closed on Mondays except for: 25 July, 15 August, 5 September, 19 September, 31 October and 21 November.
  • Location Dutch pavilion: Chiesetta della Misericordia in Venice
  • No ticket or registration is required for this location

Please note that the Dutch entry will not be shown at the Rietveld Pavilion. This year, we break with tradition and have our presentation at the Chiesetta della Misericordia. Located at Campo de l’Abazia, 3550, Venezia (IT).

melanie bonajo (lowercase, they / their) is a Dutch artist, filmmaker, certified sexological bodyworker and somatic sex coach. The new work, specially commissioned for the Biennale Arte 2022, is part of their ongoing research into the current status of intimacy in our increasingly alienating, commodity-driven world. For bonajo, touch can be a powerful remedy for the modern epidemic of loneliness. bonajo will be working with a curatorial team consisting of Orlando Maaike Gouwenberg, Geir Haraldseth and Soraya Pol. In collaboration with scenographer Théo Demans, bonajo is creating an immersive video installation that will draw visitors into a perspective-altering environment. The visitors’ sensory awakening will help them to reflect on the meaning of touch and intimacy in relation to their own bodies. bonajo says:

“With this project we want to reprioritise the body as a vehicle for connection and safety, cultivating touch and friendship as a form of activism. Feeling is a form of intelligence; thinking through touch.”

The choice of the jury
A broad-based international jury selected bonajo from a long list of artists and curators who had applied to take part in earlier versions of the biennale. Those selected were invited to submit an overall plan. After the plans were presented to the jury, it was unanimous in determining that melanie bonajo would be representing the Netherlands. In making its choice, the jury considered, among other things, the quality of the work and the impact it will have on the international stage of the Venice Biennale. The jury is confident that bonajo can deliver a presentation that impresses and inspires.

Members of the jury for the Dutch contribution to the 2022 Venice Biennale are: Kate Bush (curator Tate Modern), Stijn Huijts (director Bonnefantenmuseum), Hicham Khalidi (director Jan van Eyck Academy), Franziska Nori (director Frankfurter Kunstverein), Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi (curator MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York), Fatos Üstek (director Liverpool Biennale), Rieke Vos (curator Het HEM), and non-voting chairperson Eelco van der Lingen (director Mondriaan Fund).

Location of the Dutch pavilion in 2022
For the upcoming edition, the Mondriaan Fund has decided to break with tradition and present the Dutch entry at a new location, the Chiesetta della Misericordia of Art Events, a deconsecrated 13th-century church in Cannaregio. The Mondriaan Fund has meanwhile invited Estonia to make use of the Rietveld Pavilion for the 2022 Venice Biennale. The Mondriaan Fund officially handed over the Rietveld Pavilion to Estonia in November 2021. Director Eelco van der Lingen is delighted:

“An exciting artist in an exciting location. The Chiesetta della Misericordia is a splendid building in the middle of the city. I am looking forward to seeing how that relates to the splendid work of melanie bonajo.”

Opening hours
The exhibition is open from Tuesday until Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. On Mondays the presentation is closed, except for April 25, May 30, June 27, July 25, August 15, September 5 and 19, October 31 and November 21.

Dutch press

Melanie Bonajo, kunstenaar slash sekscoach vertegenwoordigt Nederland op de Biënnale in Venetië
Volkskrant magazine
5 februari 2022

Kunstenaar melanie bonajo ik eis de vrouwelijkheid terug die de kerk onmogelijk maakte
16 april 2022

Melanie Bonajo viert de vulva op de Biënnale van Venetië
19 april 2022

Een met olijfolie overgoten knuffeldroom ­– melanie bonajo in Chiesetta della Misericordia
Metropolis M
19 april 2022

Melanie Bonajo toont op de Biënnale een ontroerend spektakelstuk vol glimmende blote lijven
De Volkskrant
20 april 2022

Vrouwelijke kunstenaars domineren landenpaviljoens op Biënnale van Venetië
22 april 2022

In Heerlen geboren kunstenaar Melanie Bonajo naar Biënnale in Venetië: ‘Ik ben katholiek, maar ik ben een geboren ketter’
De Limburger
22 april 2022

‘A pluffy pillow pleasure island’ – Dutch Venice Biennale focus is touch and consent
Dutch News
23 april 2022

melanie Bonajo – zonder hoofdletters – voor Nederland op de Biënnale van Venetië: ‘Mijn werk gaat over meer dan alleen sexualiteit’
Het Parool
23 april 2022

De kunst op de Biënnale van Venetië is weergaloos, nu het instituut zelf nog
Mister Motley
25 april 2022

Lepeltje lepeltje liggen in kerk
De Telegraaf
26 april 2022

Warm nest
De Groene Amsterdammer
27 april 2022

Vrouwen maken dit jaar de dienst uit op de Biënnale van Venetië
De Volkskrant
28 april 2022

De Biënnale van Venetië viert de verbeelding van de mens, álle soorten mens
30 april 2022

Internationaal press

Venice Biennale 2022: all the national pavilions, artists and curators
The Art Newspaper (UK)
17 december 2021

The Artists To Watch in 2022: Part 1
Elephant magazine (UK)
3 januari 2022

Dutch pavilion: artist explores importance of touch and intimacy
The Art Newspaper (UK)
11 april 2022

‘A Collective Spell in the Form of a Pleasure-Positive Camp’: melanie bonajo on representing The Netherlands at the 59th Venice Biennale
Art Review (UK)
15 april 2022

Klara podcast Pompidou
20 april 2022 (Belgium)

Bodylicious op de Biënnale
Hart magazine (Belgium)
23 april 2022

Melanie Bonajo: “The Oil Pool Where People are Blindfolded Is a Ritual Space…”
Elephant Magazine (UK)
3 mei 2022

Atlantis and The Young Pretender reviewed, Martin Green, Venice Biennale
BBC Front Row (10:28) (UK)
22 april 2022

The 2022 Venice Biennale Turns The Patriarchal Art World On Its Head
British Vogue (UK)
23 april 2022

Venedig-Biennale: Grenzenlose Kraft der Kunst
ZDF Aspekte (42:00-44:15) (Germany)
23 april 2022

Weltkunst (Germany)
22 april 2022

Pavilions in the city | Cheerful chaos and new investments
Il Giornale dell’Arte (Italy)
22 april 2022

Sex in the Church of Mercy
La Vanguardia (Spain)
22 april 2022

Relevant links

Questions & contact

Questions about the Venice Biennale? Please contact us.

Esther Schussler