Miguel Bonneville, The Idea and Its Support

by Francisco Camacho

Miguel Bonneville develops his activity across several artistic fields, often using autobiographical material. This is one of the distinctive traces of his performance work. It must be said that this approach is not common in Portugal, and almost never carried out by male performers.

In a time of image proliferation and saturation, Miguel’s work summons an imagistic repository anchored on his biography, which includes the notion of family and his relatives, childhood and growth, learning and social and cultural models. The operation used by Miguel on all these subjects leads to artistic objects that systematically destroy and reconstruct his personal experience, questioning the mechanisms associated with his identity.

When witnessing his proposals, due to the incessant recovery of memory that Miguel practices, what comes to my mind is a refusal strategy of forgetfulness. This act of non-alienation of personal history is linked to an assumption of the private as political, which is not caused by the public display of what is supposedly private, it surfaces because we form ourselves in the encounter with the other. One may even infer a sense of attribution of responsibility in the act of intervening in the history of the other.

Miguel’s work is not documental, even though it uses elements such as photography and interviews, along with several objects that are resonances of his successive metamorphosis and identity possibilities. Miguel’s presence on stage is frequently disconcerting, playing with the ambiguity between an alleged reality of the moment and it’s staging, between the spontaneity of the performer and a calculated persona or character. The encounter of the spectator with the identities engendered by Miguel further materializes the axle of construction, amplifying it and enveloping us in a speculative game in which one is asked to create a fiction of a Miguel. He will always oppose being it. His works are put forward as fragments that are not meant to be complete. The systematic search for creation material in his personal history does not transform Miguel Bonneville’s work into an indomitable tower. On the contrary, we are before an accessible world, intimate and non-intimidatory, where delirious and seductive atmospheres have place.