Lara Bongard is an artist, cook and writer. Through a multi-disciplinary practice that moves in-between writing, cooking, photography, textiles and publishing, her work illuminates hidden stories of cultural erasure and ‘placeless’ migratory identities. Exploring the feeling of belonging nowhere and everywhere, at the same time. Via transhistorical research — working with archives, historical sources, ancestral stories, mythology and tales — she merges and fuses ancient narratives and symbolisms to create new stories, images and rituals.
From a research-based practice, Lara’s work is created through a process of excavating and assembling fragments of information. This can be for example an archival photograph, lyric, film-still, ancient manuscripts, legend or fable, historic event, or memory. Presenting different times and places, these elements merge, intermingle and cross-pollinate each other. This is a process of building up and peeling layers. Eventually, these connections get translated into short stories, illustrations, textile-designs, photographs, an audio-piece, or a dish. These seemingly fragmented works, each one telling a part of the story, create new topographies and connections when they are combined. Resulting in the form of a performance, installation, or graphic work. The final part is a collaborative process, where she takes on the role of creative director and co-creates with for example musicians, fashion designers, and performers to bring the vision to life. As her work is mobile, it creates new relationships when placed in different environments, giving space for new narratives to grow. The result is fictional, transhistorical storytelling informed by factual sources. Working with non-lineair time-perspectives, to create a soft seduction between reality and fantasy.
Lara’s work aims to challenge our relationship to the past and acknowledge the multiplicity of stories and histories that constitute our identity — by seeing ourselves and each other in our plurality, we can move beyond a singular perception of a person or a culture and start building bridges. Through reimagining the past, present and future, while working with personal stories as connecting factors, she creates spaces where people can look at the meaning of being uprooted and feeling at home from new perspectives. She uses colour in a tactile language of word and image to touch on delicate issues, break stigmas and weave together connections.
Lara Bongard holds a BA and MA in Visual Arts from LUCA School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. Next to her practice, Lara works both in creative direction and food-design, as well as writing for various publications like METAL and MOLD magazine. She is co-editor of SPREAD MAG. A young editorial collective who publishes undiscovered creative talents in a biannual magazine, and she is part of Food Design Nation, a hybrid platform that connects food creatives worldwide. Lara organises food events, self-publishes magazines and books and has participated in various group shows. She will have her first solo-exhibition in 2023 in the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam and her book The Girl Who Crossed the River with a Tablecloth will be published by Art Paper Editions in the spring of 2023.