Daydreaming with Bianca Bondi

A spiritual voyage to Inner sense.

It was conceived as a space to allow the mind to wander or even just simply enjoy the visual, auditory and olfactory experiences. There is so much to see in the details and the way the outside world can impact the work. I have been there watching rain fall into the puddles, I’ve seen a bird feather float down from the skylight and softly land on the water, then there are beautiful moments of the wind blowing the vegetation or rippling the water.


Bianca Bondi


Bianca Bondi, The Daydream, 2021, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Adagp, Paris, 2021 © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


As part of its 8th Open Space programme the Fondation Louis Vuitton welcomes for the first time in its headquarters a multi-media installation The Daydream by contemporary artist Bianca Bondi (Johannesburg, South Africa, 1986, lives and works in Paris).


The installation positions itself as a secret garden full of various layers of interpretation and hidden meanings, which the visitors are invited to reveal until January 24th, 2022. Some inside-out clues would be provided by the artist herself in the conversation below devoted to the occurred event.


People behind the project: Ludovic Delalande and Claire Staebler (Curators); Jenn Hutt (Soundtrack); Tara Msellati (Floral composition); Yann Vasnier (Fragrance creation).


Could you please describe the installation in your own words?


I have always liked the idea of an artwork being composed of multiple layers and it branching out beyond what the artist intended. A letting go of control, hence my fondness for the ephemeral and transitory. The salty ponds, the floral cloud that dips into the water, the misty purple walls - with The Daydream each physical component of the artwork is a part of the whole but the most essential part of the work is the intangible.


The Daydream, preparatory sketch, 2021 by Bianca Bondi


This work is also the fruit of collaboration. For example, I was really excited to work with Tara Marsellati for the first time on the floral component. She’s an expert in her domain so we were able to brainstorm on the types of plants available for the effects I was after and then of course she works her magic to make it happen. It was important for me to use only natural vegetation here.


The Daydream is an installation which houses a sculpture, a sculpture like a cascade of ponds or an organic mushroom like formation harboring puddles that slightly change colours. Evaporation and air circulation are important factors that will encourage the transitioning of these petal-ponds from a liquid to a solid. The Daydream is a sculpture within a garden-like space; we are met with Hortensias, fine bleach bone-like Ferns, and a rainbow of Amarants, Eucalyptus, and algae-like leaves spilling downwards. This garden is an interior scene but you might feel a sudden breeze.



The Daydream is a soundtrack on a loop, sometimes the soundtrack is accompanied by distant water or birds squawking. It is a series of vibrations, a raw guitar and the ripple effect; and on rare occasions The Daydream is almost silence.


The Daydream is a mineral, earthy yet slightly minty smell, it encourages you to breathe deeper, to slow down. It is also your presence, The Daydream is for the future and your memory of being in that space.


Bianca Bondi. Photography by Valentin le Cron



Why was it called The Daydream?


The title became an obvious choice as a natural progression of current subjects of interest. The Daydream is a follow on from my recent solo show, entitled ‘The Faint House of Yes’ in the context of the Voyage à Nantes over the past summer. It is the name of one of the chambers of this five-chapter visit; the exhibition had been conceived like a temple where the spectator can wander through five rooms. Each room was associated with an element such as salt, water, aromatic herbs while simultaneously echoing a room in a home but also an essential need. The Salle de Lumiere aka The Daydream, is the only room I chose to open to natural light. I imagined the space as a room of rest and inter realm communication as in the centre of this 4m high ceiling room of crystalised curtains is a 2,3M diameter round bed with a very large unactivated crystal ball sinking in its middle, echoing the gravitational pull of the planets in space.


As a society we spend the majority of our self-development on improving our waking life, and yet half of our lives are spent asleep. There exists a transitional stage of dreaming while still awake, the scientific term is Hypnagogia, it is a moment of threshold consciousness where lucid dreaming can occur. These moments of living while not consciously being present hold so much untapped power. I wanted to continue my exploration of the concept of daydreaming, which in a typical sense would refer to allowing one's mind to drift but also take the subject further than evoked in the ‘Faint House of Yes’ which was more of an ode to dreaming. For this new site specific installation, I would say there are three main sub stages to unfold : daydreaming in the classic sense, a loss of control through hypnagogia, or going further: a guided journey by the ancient act of scrying and the encouragement of an astral projection voyage.


Bianca Bondi, The Daydream, 2021, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Adagp, Paris, 2021 © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Can you tell us when the idea of the olfactory dimension in your art has appeared? When was the first time when you introduced different scents into your creative process? Please share with us your reflections on this topic. Are you planning to continue exploring this dimension in the future?


Ironically, scent has often accompanied my work but by default because of the nature of the material I work with, such as salt water, or metals that are oxidizing, plant materials, glycerine.. It was such an exciting twist to be able to collaborate with Yann (*Editor's note: Yann Vasnier, perfumer) who had the expertise to create voluntary scents that could be used as triggers.


For The Daydream he created a scent that has about twenty different elements, inspired by the concept of the artwork (*Editor's note: The olfactive composition with the notes of cypress, sage, basil, spearmint, bergamot, frankincense and comprising the Ocimene molecule). He specifically chose scents that would open the blue Chakra, the scent having the potential to simultaneously be a healing and nurturing experience. This Chakra is associated with the throat therefore representative of communication; the colour blue being associated with calmness it is all about expression and truth. When it's open, we can communicate our truth clearly and effectively.


Yann actually made a variety of versions that I could experiment with in the salt water basins so going beyond the composition of smell but also how to chemically best exist within the artwork. The smell is in the water..



Cover image: Bianca Bondi, The Daydream, 2021, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Adagp, Paris, 2021 © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage