Benjamin Installé

Installation view of “Providência”, BPS22, 2018
Left: Condominio Eiffel, paraffin wax on cardboard mounted on aluminium frames, 2018, 810 x 270cm
Right: Edificio California, paraffin wax on cardboard mounted on steel structure, 2018, variable dimensions.

Photos: Fabrice Schneider

Providência April 21 to May 27 2018, BPS22, Musée d’art de la Province de Hainaut

On the occasion of a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, I met simultaneously the brilliant oeuvre of modernist Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the city’s jaunty art world, two years after the adminitrative putsch against Dilma Rousseff’s administration and a few months before Jair Bolsonaro’s election.

Out of this double encounter, I conceived the show as both a tribute to the architect’s work and a rendition of the peculiar social group I found myself immersed in for a short time. In this sense, I re-interpreted two of the architect’s buildings I daily frequented: the California building where I had my studio, and the Eiffel building where I was generously hosted.

First artwork was a large painting scaled to the bay window of the Eiffel flat I lived in. It represented a clear, transparent interior room in which fantoms smoke, chat, read or danse, in a general atmosphere of idleness and stagnation. Objects are depicted moving by themselves in the air, inspired by the first filmic experiences of Hans Richter (Ghost Before Breakfast) and by Jasper Johns’s paintings from the eighties (Racing Thoughts).

Second artwork was constructed as a full scale model of the California balcony, turning it into a sculptural object studying elementary formal principles of sculpture, painting and architecture in a modernist spirit, by affixing painted cardboard panels onto a steel structure.