A twilight statue garden in the back of a villa, refugees of a natural disaster as though exiles from an episode of Survival, orthodox Jews in flames on roof-tops, temporary camps of tiger hunters, an assault on a sunny day; these and other small stories are combined with landscape paintings full of surrealist happenings possessing their own internal eclectic language. Ben Ben-Ron, in a new series of paintings from the years 2006-8, presents painted postcard-like revelations which contain symbolic associative spaces, combining the old with the new, the impure with the holy.
This series of painting was made while I lived in India for 2 years.
“Cain”, a solo exhibition by Ben Bejerano at Inga Gallery features paintings made in the past year.
Surreal happenings bear signs of the present; a fake ideality, violence and destruction, an optimistic vision collapsing into reality; the old residing side by side with the new.
An all-encompassing painting: both future, past and present, it is naïve in its ambition. The mind can sustain reality – the heart brings ruin; a punk-impressionism.
A preservation of tents frozen at the feet of a shattered wall; the Temple Mount on fire, and Chagall’s fiddler floating above a Mediterranean shtetl.
Jerusalem covered with graffiti, scribbled over; men of dark complexion, in shiny overalls, proceeding like a herd through a wadi, ejected. A waste mountain; a tower of Babylon, with Religious (Haredis) Jews ablaze on its roof; a gazelle, iconic in shape, surrounded by female bodyguards, looks organic, crowned and made-up; fragments of broken Buddha statues.
Shagal #2 170x120cm Oil 2011 /
Punkimpressionism 180x130cm Oil 2011 /
Afrika 180x130cm Oil 2011 /
Buddha’s Son 180x130cm Oil 2011 /
After(W)all 170x120cm Oil 2011 /
100 Gates 130x180cm Oil 2011 /
Shagal#1 170x120cm oil 2011 /
This no love song 130x180cm Oil 2011
Shagal#3 170x120cm Oil 2011 /
BloodyDeer 50x60cm Oil 2011 /
Grave yard 180x130cm Oil 2010 /
About the installation:
In his new project at the Herzliya Museum of Art, Ben Ben Ron chooses the (men’s and women’s) toilets as an ex-territorial display space within the museum. Ben Ron invades the intimate space of the toilets, encumbering the viewer with revealing, expressive visual wealth.The bathrooms transform from a clean and sterile site to a damp underground space, like a bad memory or violent baggage lying at the depth of the subconscious threatening to burst forth.Simultaneously, another work is presented in the form of a tormented wolf-man akin to an ancient picture of a figure from the Dark World.
Bejeranos carpet paintings, were inspired by the cheap, colorful rugs that fill local markets. In contrast to his earlier works, here the “high” act of painting modestly imitates the rugs’ simple weave; it seems to be drawing attention to the beauty inherent in small, unpretentious details, created by rural artisans with no technological pretensions.
About the installation:
Bejerano’s work Ofek 1 (One Horizon) addresses the two poles of this exhibition: on the one hand, it was composed using a “low,” decorative and childlike technique that involves cutting and pasting thousands of paper shreds; on the other hand, it involves “high” themes and poignant social criticism. Referring to the apocalyptic scene featured in this work, the artist recalled the images etched into collective consciousness during the attack on the Twin Towers. (“The black pealing flesh of the night resembles the thousands of pieces of office paper that fluttered through the air during the collapse of the towers”). The name of this work relates to the name of the Israeli satellite “Ofek 1,” a symbol of Israel’s advanced technological power; it thus charges the nocturnal scene with additional meanings, related to a future annihilation. This work concludes a four-year period during which Ben Ron created works composed of layers of colorful paper shreds. The violent and morose narratives in these works stand out in contrast to the technique, which alludes to summer camp handicraft projects or occupational therapy sessions.
About the exhibition: (For hebrew press here)
A central work of Ben Ben-Ron´s many series of paintings created in different styles, is a large scale semi-realistic canvas, which traps within it a dominant theme linking his works: through the heavy, wild underbrush there is a glimpse of a mysterious human event – the actual existence of which is doubtful – taking place deep in the shadowy depths of sublime nature. Ben-Ron deals with humankind´s attempts to mark the borders of control, he freezes the moment before it dissipates and is swallowed up by some larger entity. A kind of modern-day Mt. Sinai swollen with contradictions: human technology in the form of a red jeep contains within it a sexual act – a sort of male ability to hold a female figure within it, a violent scene takes place between two ragwort bushes, and in the distance there are tree trunks crowded and threatening like the Asmargard forest of awe and loss – all these create an atmosphere that is not only mysterious, but also frightening and ridiculous. The combination of details and acts that illogical and inexplicable in the context they are shown, create a grotesque mood of an absurd world.
Despite the eclecticism that defines them, all the works discuss the borderline between control and its loss: in the small black and red acrylic paintings Ben-Ron freezes the quiet before the storm/destruction/failure, placing them like frames in a promo announcing what is to come. The act dramatizes the artist´s omnipotent fantasy of control (in paintings as well as in reality), together with the release from fantasy and the attempt to control, this time in the illusion he himself has created.
The series of abstracts also touches on this subject: it shows a panoramic look at controlling caprices. The discussion of border and its breach exists in the control of the color and material, the desire to break out of the frame of the painting.
The debate on the border of control attains an additional aspect in the general context of the exhibition, the male ability or virility in the face of its human fragility and limitations: the noticeable abundance in the mass of works and techniques strengthens the sense of emptiness and loneliness reflected un them as a sort of blend of death force and life force, a mix of restraint and disintegration in a single moment of suspension.
Bejerano marks the borders of form, he knows that beneath the surface, under the illusion of control and safe existence, lurks the truth of nature greater than him (both as man and as human). Ben Ron bravely utilizes that illusion as a layer of protection from that same nature, by turning the illusion itself into a value. (Written by Moran Godes)