Magazine article Artforum International

Benoit Maire: DAVID ROBERTS ART FOUNDATION

Magazine article Artforum International

Benoit Maire: DAVID ROBERTS ART FOUNDATION

Article excerpt

Benoit Maire's recent exhibition was more accessible than the French artist-cum-philosopher's previous outings, even if it was hard not to feel that some aspects of it were pitched just over one's head. At least the exhibition's title, "Weapon," clearly expressed its main theme, here related not only to violence but to the material technologies of perception and measurement.

Several works in the show seemed suspended between aphorism and clue: a 2012 assemblage of a stone, a shell, and a piece of quartz imprinted with the words HERE, MEASUREMENT IS AT FAULT, HE SAYS; faux-vintage photographs of the artist's Paris neighbors set on top of a pedestal among stones separating several layers of glass (Conjugaison No 4: 18 January 2013); a photogram of a hand a la Man Ray (Untitled, 2013). Such works seemed to be fragments, implying that medium and message were being hermetically folded together. A more declarative work was Socrates, 2013, a bust of the philosopher cast in soap with a die implanted within it--a slightly heavy-handed statement about the contingency in every intellectual endeavor. In the large assemblage Suspended Weapons, 2013, meanwhile, strange prehistoric-looking objects were mounted between panes of glass on metal tables with marble tops that, according to the accompanying leaflet, "were chosen for their reference to the Baroque." Also in the main gallery were several enormous silk screens--from the series "2 Tools," 2013--depicting sharpened pieces of flint as well as more dice. With this selection of works, the stakes of Maire's essayistic investigation were raised to include the history of art and the archaeological history of humanity, in addition to the history of philosophy.

The video I.E.4 (Liquid Crystals), 2013, endeavored to tie up these various threads, managing to be at once concise and vague. …

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