Dr. Donatella Bernardi is a multidisciplinary artist, academic and manager in the field of art education. Her artistic practice is complemented by her scholarly research and teaching, spanning installations, publications, films, essays and curated exhibitions. She places particular emphasis on questions of power and power dynamics, gender, postcolonialism, intersectionality, as well as capitalism and rigorous critiques thereof.
Alongside her colleague artist Andrea Lapzeson, Bernardi was part of the Zorro & Bernardo collective from 2001 to 2006. One of her first positions was as co-director of the Forde independent art space in Geneva (2002–04). She is also a founding co-director of the award-winning touring international art festival Eternal Tour (Rome 2008, Neuchâtel 2009, Jerusalem and Ramallah 2010, from New York to Las Vegas 2011, Geneva and São Paulo 2012). In 2013, for her work with Eternal Tour, she was awarded the Prix pour la Programmation en Art Contemporain by Geneva’s Cantonal Fund for Contemporary Art (FCAC).
From 2017 to 2020, Bernardi has been the Head of the Masters programme in Fine Arts at Zürich University of the Arts; prior to this, she taught for seven years as a professor at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Art (KKH) in Stockholm (2010–16). Her scholarly research in art began as a fellow of the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (2006–08) and continued at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht (2008–09), after which she was appointed a research associate as part of the team of CERCCO (the Center for Experimentation and Realization in Contemporary Ceramics) at Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD). This research culminated in a dissertation about events and the contemporary art system in the context of globalisation, supervised by Prof. Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva and Prof. Dr. Stephen Fox at Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management (2014–18).
As a winner of the 2013 Picker competition, Bernardi co-published her first artist monograph that year, in collaboration with Jacqueline Burckhardt, In Pursuit of Unlimited Hospitality. Two years later, she served as a guest curator at the Kunsthalle Bern and later reflected on the experience in the book, Into Your Solar Plexus (Humboldt Books, 2016). In December 2016, Bernardi presented part of her research project Comunità Olivetti at the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in partnership with the Work.Master MFA programme at HEAD, Geneva. Following her show The Belly of the Phoenix at the exhibition space Last Tango, she was a studio fellow from August 2017 to January 2018 at the Landis & Gyr Foundation in Zug, Switzerland. A recent project, titled Morelli – Freud – Holmes (2018–19), typifies Bernardi’s work, enacting a skilful intertwinement of art history, psychoanalysis, and criminology for a City of Zürich public art competition. The project was subsequently installed at Kunst Raum Riehen for the group show Pickpocket.
Background picture: Donatella Bernardi photographed by Sandra Pointet