storm and momentum
Benoît ‘s experiments hybridize with stealth. They involve different mediums (painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound, publishing) in the performative field. Plural, they take their sources without being affiliated with them in the interventionist or appropriationist approaches of the second half of the XX th century before escaping towards the off-screen, tracing an undetectable dynamic, only in appearance.
Declaring art as a pretext for life, “fantasizing the ultimate piece as a simple breath: a breath”, Benoît is part of a Fluxus heritage where life is no longer theatricalized. Here, the poetry of the ordinary is grafted onto a hymn to nature rid of any bucolic vision. However, Benoît does not intervene in the natural environment like Land Art artists, he does not modify the landscape, nor does he preserve or heal ecosystems.
Benoît’s casual attitude to art history can be unsettling. Far from being a driving force for creation, the artistic quotations that sometimes surface are apprehended in an uninhibited way, in the mode of copyleft , as a free development or diversion. A thousand miles from the postmodern artist multiplying the references, Benoît turns his gestures into poetic images relieved of any historical anchoring; a position-reaction to a contemporary art scene for the benefit of the here and now. “Inconsistency is not insignificance” said Marcel Duchamp.
On the mountain range of Annapurna, on the Massif du Mercantour or on the shores of the Mediterranean, Benoît walks, bivouacs, climbs, swims, snorkels to create gestures that look like conquest but remain futile and ephemeral. He rubs shoulders with and woos nature, throws himself into the void or into the depths of the abyss to offer, for a moment, a bouquet of flowers to the Earth [ Les Tentatives , 2014].
Love attempt, 2014
The ascent, the dizziness, the attraction of the void, the intoxication of the depths give embraces a sexual drive. The primordial energies – water, fire, air, earth -, the elementary qualities – the hot, the cold, the dry, the humid – are summoned and with them, different nocturnal or diurnal landscapes – the mountain and the sea, the sheer peaks of the cliffs and the gentleness of the lakes, the warmth of the sun and the icy whiteness of snow.
T he question of the nude in the landscape appears as a necessary countershot to the Anthropocene era. It no longer displays the central and narcissistic place of the human or the “I”, it calls for a horizontal and peaceful relationship with the world. It is built on a desire for action, reaction, taking charge.
The erotic offerings experiment with the meshes that connect humans to nature. A plea for ecosophy, a call to feel the vital impulses unfold there. Meditation establishes itself as a form of peace . Visits _ exult the pleasure of connection and interaction. Nature is no longer an idealized place of retreat, it is a privileged and intimate partner. She is where the wind blows.
Benoît promotes moments of artistic synergy through eco-solidarity actions. Thus, he initiates collective creation sessions in a joyful and festive atmosphere where the figure of the author and of the authority is questioned. Together, they drop to the bottom of the water as if in a deep sleep [We tried to fall asleep underwater , 2018], play the trumpet in the open sea [ There is a connection between music, water and life , 2019], run naked in the snow [ Sunburn , 2019].
There is a connection between music, water and life, 2019
Some expeditions assert themselves, in a permanent, ephemeral or nomadic way, in the landscape, seeking the help of companions with specific know-how and qualities. With a naval architect[Marc Risé] , musicians and amateur freedivers, he immerses, for the time of a session, a piano “infusing a musical wave in the depths of the sea” [ La tide de la trépidation , 2015].
Tide of Trepidation, 2015
Accompanied by climbers [Félix Bourgeau, Audrie Galzi, Tom Barbagli], he fixed a bronze cast (weighing around 20 kg) of his arm holding a real bouquet of flowers, doomed to disappear if he is not replaced [ Here the earth , 2014]. With a cameraman friend, he makes a stele of burnt wood travel in the middle of nature like an open interstitial door on the other side of the mirror [ Monoxyle , 2019].
Nature is also a privileged partner. In Athens, with the artist Eri Dimitriadi, he tries to capture the shape of water on earth or under the sea [ Ocean memoria , 2017- ]. Alone, he launches into the landscape natural ink made on site so that it smudges a canvas deposited below in a form of cosmological co-creation [ Ecotopia , 2016-2020].
This propensity to work in collaboration crystallizes in the birth in 2018 of a collective with variable geometry (Tom Barbagli, Evan Bourgeau, Camille Franch-Guerra, Omar Rodriguez Sanmartin, Anne-Laure Wuillai) and with a fluctuating name ( Azimuth, Palam ) magnetizing common eco-solidarity desires and ideals. The collective and walking in the mountains becomes a work process, a way of inhabiting the land [ Azimuth , 2018; Beneath the Ice, Water , 2019].
Benoît is one of these nomadic spirits, which tries to open an exploratory field where energies circulate freely until making inextricable the links which connect experience, pleasure and creation. This is evidenced by his manifesto or epic texts as well as his editions [ Ici la terre , 2015]. The expeditions unashamedly take on a lyrical flight. This reminiscence of Romanticism, far from being naive, seems to evoke what this past can say in the present so that humans are no longer facing nature, but with it.
In this sensual activism, the enjoyment of freedom continues to exult again and again until it creates a momentum of political and societal life. Collective commitment – and not community – becomes procession.
Natural Revolution, 2020
Thus, they raise the point armed with a bouquet [ Natural Revolution , 2019-2020], love each other together, at night, in the streets of the Exarchia district – a place of self-management and citizen initiative in Athens [ ACAB , 2017]. With the artist Aimée Fleury, they feed and cultivate the fire of freedom [Liberation, 2020] in a kind of processual and shamanic ritual which is reminiscent of his plastic research on telepathy, synesthesia, trance [À corps , 2013] or his compositions under LSD [Water Deployment , 2011].
Liberation – #2 – 2019
in collaboration with Aimée Fleury and the participation of Norra
These works, moments of life engaged in a better tomorrow, do not always participate in an eco-responsible reflection that would be more in tune with practice. However , their nature is elsewhere, immaterial, elusive. They crystallize in the emotion they provide, in the call for freedom, the storm and the momentum they instill.