Benjamin Monti. La nécessité de répétition
It is the need to draw, and repeat - like a lesson, a poem, a punishment - the image, which is the falsely naive and academic driving force of Benjamin Monti. For this exhibition at the Museum, the tenth cycle of our Amateurs' room kept for intimate works, the artist wanted to present, as a telling indicator of his obsession with drawing, three more or less identical portraits of his "grandma" which he did when he was around 7 years old; but three drawings by a child which appear disturbing when one discovers that they date from the very day on which his grandmother, clearly loved, died, thus forever disappearing from his sight. Is it in order to show that, since then, he has never stopped discharging this duty: to be a seismograph of his existence, someone who will graphically depict its shocks? However his work is not, on the face of it, the symptom of any severe trauma. His stroke is not expressionist and comes from the clear line, placed on graph paper or on the pages of old school books in which notes and drawings can be seen that are just as clean and applied. Likewise, his figures are not personal, in the sense that they are not directly produced by his imagination, but rather are extracts from the ready-made fantasy worldof obsolete encyclopaedias, children's stories or learning manuals; namely pictures of Épinal and stereotypical models, which he applies himself to calmly copying and especially to playfully distorting. But nobody is fooled. The work of Benjamin Monti, conventional at a first glance, derives from a diversion from the right direction and the right behaviour, which is close to surrealism: consider Max Ernst's collage-novel, like La Femme 100 têtes (1929) or Une semaine de bonté (1933). If you look closely at them, it is, moreover, this same flavour of delicate perversity which is released; the fruit of the alliance between innocence and criminality, playfulness and cruelty, pleasure and suffering. Which allows us, why not, to look at them as "desiring machines".
MAC's - Benjamin Monti. La nécessité de répétition - 13.03.2016 - 03.07.2016
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