Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. Ph Lillie Thompson
Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. Ph Lillie Thompson

Curated in partnership with the Musée d’Orsay, which holds the world’s largest collection of Bonnard’s work, the exhibition features more than 100 artworks by Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) bringing late 19th and early 20th century France to life through paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative objects, shown alongside early cinema by the Lumière brothers and artworks by Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton and Édouard Vuillard, Bonnard’s early contemporaries.

The NGV commissioned architect and designer India Mahdavi with a contemporary scenography; her idea was to envelop Pierre Bonnard’s works in an environment that complements his distinct use of colour, texture and light, and evokes the wistful domestic intimacy for which his paintings are renowned. Until 8 October 2023.

Bonjour Monsieur Bonnard, 
About painting, you once said ‘A small lie for a great truth’.
Here, I tell big lies for a bigger truth.
I love your distorted reality and your subjective perception of colour, how you transform the intimacy of everyday life into something sublime. How you invite us into your home, to your table, to share your meal. How you make everything float in colour under the sun.
This encounter enables me to dive into your harmonies, into your geometric and floral patterns, into your mind.
A pure sensation of color and space filtered through memory.
I have made it mine, just this one time.
It was beautiful to converse with you.
And as you say, ‘It is not about painting life, but rather bringing life to painting’.
With love, India

Photo © Lillie Thompson