Benjamin Renoux: The Blurry Phase
Solo ShowAbout the exhibition
by Martin Guinard
"The mirror stage would be the initiating step in our sense of identity: facing our
own reflection, according to Lacan and Winnicott, the body extracts itself and emerges.
My work interrogates the similarities between reflections and photographs, which is an illusion of reality based on the manipulation of light.”
Benjamin Renoux starts his process with personal archives of dated photographs, filming the reflections occurring in the glass protecting them. The works are then shown on digital tablets, and meticulously framed by the artist. Renoux starts his works from the point of view of the image. This produces a multiple perspective, where the photograph looks back at its environment, or rather reflects upon it.
His images pulse, palpite and change focus continuously, like the resurgence of a memory, of a vanishing moment. In Us, a photograph of the artist’s mother is set behind the reflection of a couple in bed; an uncomfortable face-to-face where she stands still like a blind and impassive witness. In his series of CONVERSATIONS, the images vary in focus, from sharp outlines to blurry backgrounds reflecting their environment.
Throughout this process Renoux layers different areas of time and space; the one of the photograph, its surrounding when shot, and finally the gallery space where the work is shown. In CONVERSATION #14, the subject deals with a current geopolitical conflict. It shows the city of Hatra, destroyed by ISIS in 2015. The incandescent neon lights take a violent turn, suggesting the bulldozers and explosives that destroyed the city. This series, as with the others, examines the circulation of an image through the multiple layers of time and space that it contains.
At the core of Renoux’s work is the desire to question notions of art. He uses video to question photography, and photography to question painting. In his series, Crépuscule Bleu, he photographs lonely figures in blank backgrounds. He then gradually applies coats of black paint, stopping only when the figure almost vanishes in the remaining obscurity of the image. In this painterly process, as with his general practice, Renoux is working with with the etymological definition of the term photography; writing with the light.
About the curator
Martin Guinard-Terrin is an artist and curator, with a background in History of Art and Fine Arts (Concordia, McGill, Central Saint Martins). He has worked at the Palais des Beaux-arts in Paris under the direction of Nicolas Bourriaud. He is currently co-curating an international exhibition called Reset Modernity ! at ZKM I Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. The project is realised in collaboration with the AIME project, under the direction of the philosopher Bruno Latour.