until 27.02. | #0357ARTatBerlin | From the 2nd of February 2016 neugerriemschneider shows the fourth solo exhibition by James Benning (*1942) at the gallery. Until the 27th February 2016 two new film installations by the artist are shown.
Since the late 1970s, James Benning has been celebrated for his groundbreaking filmic work, which bridges the often disparate disciplines of filmmaking and fine art. Employing tactics of duration, Benning’s work explores landscape in real time and pays homage to fellow creative minds while also charting the history of Benning’s own production.
For his exhibition at neugerriemschneider, Benning returns to a familiar motif in his visual repertoire: the great American West. Upon entering the main exhibition space, the viewer observes two signs shown from behind, their posts and girding set against a vivid blue sky and seemingly barren stretch of land. The scene finds its inverse on the other side of the freestanding screen onto which it is projected, where the viewer discovers the front of the signs against the same, ever-extending landscape. Filmed successively at 1:00pm and 2:00pm respectively, the two channels of Levee Road (2016) show a small farm road in California’s Great Central Valley that runs along two major irrigation canals. Harkening back to the artist’s earlier films El Valley Centro (1999) and Tulare Road (2010) (both filmed in the region), the arid location seems at odds with the widely productive agricultural output of the Valley, which feeds nearly one quarter of America. Across both singleshot spans of 35 minutes, the light and shadows shift to the sounds of chirping of birds and gusting wind, while the low rumble of irrigation equipment provides a foreboding cue to more sinister associations: the legacies of convicted murderers Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, who are both in-carcerated in nearby Corcoran, California.
In the adjacent exhibition space, Benning presents the single-channel film measuring change (2016), which features the winding coil and expansive landscape of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970). Mirroring the basic structural premise of Levee Road, measuring change charts a longer temporal interval, consisting of two thirty-minute takes that begin at 8:57am and 3:12pm respectively. Calling to mind Benning’s earlier work Casting a Glance (2007), this newest film becomes a painting in motion, projected as a compact image on the gallery’s wall. Here, figures appear as a part of the landscape, walking atop (in the morning shot) and alongside (in the afternoon shot) the jetty’s curling form in a dynamic depiction of one of the most iconic works of art to date.
James Benning’s work has been the subject of film retrospectives at Jeu de Paume, Paris (2009); the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (2007); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2005); Anthology Film Archives, New York (1999); and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York (1986), among others. Past group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial (2014, 2006, 1987, 1983, 1981, 1979) and documenta (2007), as well as presentations at Kunstmuseum Basel (2013); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2002, 1993, 1986, 1979); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2001); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1996, 1993, 1980); and Artpark, New York (1978). The artist’s installations, drawings and silkscreens were the subject of a comprehensive solo exhibition organized by the Kunsthaus Graz in 2014, which traveled to the Kunstverein Hamburg in 2015.
Opening: Tuesday, 02nd February 2016
Exhibition period: Tuesday, 02nd February to Saturday, 27th February 2016Zu neugerriemschneider
Image caption: via neugerriemschneider
James Benning exhibition – neugerriemschneider – ART at Berlin