Nicolás Bonilla Maldonado
The science of ceramics
Nicolás Bonilla Maldonado is a ceramist from Bogotá who has been inspired by elements and terminology typical of geology. His work seeks to establish links between the scientific knowledge of nature and the transformative power of matter that has been inherited, generation after generation. For several years, he has investigated in depth the infinite particularities and possibilities of ceramic finishes by building a collection of approximately 50,000 “rocks” using different techniques and methods.
Since 2016, Nicolás Bonilla has conducted a reflection on the national geological reality, under the figure of the Ápex Geological Service, a fictitious interdisciplinary institution, where researchers traveled the entire Colombian territory and collected rocks from various geographies in order to consolidate a geological inventory. Installed in cabinets made by the artist, emulating scientific exhibitions, this inventory is made up of rocks and minerals, of various colors and shapes, never seen before, that have been subject to taxonomic classification, with all the chemical formulas, made-up scientific names, firing temperatures and types of kilns used for each of them. Each specimen is unique as all stones are different.
“Every ceramist has questioned their particular position between art and craftsmanship. What is the difference between the two, Why is there such discrimination between the terms?, Where is the place of ceramic practice?, Am I an artist?, Am I a craftsman? Can I be both? These questions have consistently guided my work. I seek, from different angles, to question the role of ceramic work within contemporary artistic practices.”