melanie bonajo – School of Lovers / Philipp Gufler – Dis/Identification



melanie bonajo – School of Lovers

The School of Lovers is a cross-genre art and education project realized by melanie bonajo, Daniel Cremer, and Yanna Rüger in collaboration with the inclusive Theater HORA.

On the basis of this new project, Kunsthalle Mainz is presenting a series of additional works by melanie bonajo that address questions of relationship and touch, research and learning. What kind of school teaches you what you always wanted to know but no one told you in real life? What kind of school addresses the issues that are related to sexuality and safety? These are a few of the questions that prompted Yanna Rüger, Daniel Cremer, and melanie bonajo to team up with the Theater HORA ensemble and embark on a journey of de- and re-schooling. In the course of it, they together shed light on the crystal of intimacy in all of its facets. One of the outcomes of their travels is an educational film 2.0, shown in an immersive spatial experience. Performers from the HORA ensemble have become experts on their own desire and, as fantastic teaching avatars, are able to impart knowledge and sensual experiences on the topics of love, intimacy and sexuality. A humorous, sensitive, empowering, genre- and gender bending experience that speaks to people with and without disabilities.

School of Lovers on Tour: After the premiere of the performance and film in December 2023 at the Shedhalle in Zurich, the School of Lovers journey of exploration is continuing. At the end of May, all participants will gather again in Mainz, to meet with the local audience and to take a further step down the path to a global school of love for people with and without impairments.

The exhibition is supported by Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Philipp Gufler - Dis/Identification

Images and (hi)stories of queer life both today and in the past are at the heart of Philipp Gufler’s artistic oeuvre. Key persons in history, developments and incisive events from different periods all enter into dialog and tell an intersectional queer story. Gufler comes across his source material in historical archives, newspapers, radio and TV, and his reference points originate in literature and the aesthetic practices of the LGBTQIA+ movements, in queer theory, and in Pop culture. Gufler reflects on these in film essays, but also in performances and pictorial objects, in paintings on mirrors or silkscreened fabrics (the quilts as he calls them today feature 53 different textiles and are dedicated to queer people, movements, and places).

In his largest solo exhibition to date, starting with a new video installation entitled The Beginning of Identification, and its End​. Gufler offers a survey of his creative output of recent years. It does not just tell us the “hi/stories of heroes”. Gufler's approach always leaves scope for the dark sides and the controversies. The focus is on identification but also on “disidentification” and thus on the limits of queer categories of identification

The exhibition will be accompanied by Philipp Gufler’s first monograph, including texts by Karolina Kühn, Louwrien Wijers and Yasmin Afschar. The project is supported by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation under its support prize „Catalogues for Young Artists“. The Beginning of Identification, and its End (2024) was produced with the kind support of the city of Munich, Launch Pad LaB, Mondriaan Fonds and Sound & Vision.