Contemporary art publications — Visual artists in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Jesús Alberto BENITEZ

update November 13 2018

Abstraction and "reality": finding the appropriate sound, 2015
Text by Joana Neves (excerpt)

Complete essai published in Impulse of Reversibility, Adera Editions, 2015
translation : John Tittensor

Each image is a "next-to-nothing" pared-down even by the traditional standards of each practice: the drawn lines are elementary, the paint is often laid in manually, the assemblages follow no formal rule or principle of organic association of materials. And yet everything is calculated down to a hair's breadth: each mark is a thrust, a halt, a little curve: the paint explores the ridges of the board and the roughness of wood, steel, lead; the assemblages of potential folded surfaces are combined with, for example, blue adhesive tape – almost Klein blue, the colour that folded the existing spectrum and thus increased that world. It is this serenity, this confidence in the "next-to-nothing" that makes feasible this advance towards the elements of the oeuvre. It is true that the process of installing these sheets of paper and this adhesive tape on the wall had a temporal existence, a duration; and yet the photograph cannot be seen as a slice of life, for it is transformation, sedimentation, mark, vestige: something has been imprinted. The photograph seems to be playing the memory game: the thing itself is lost, but it becomes one with us.

Surface Disorder, 2015
Text by Anne Bonnin (excerpt)
Complete essai published in Impulse of Reversibility, Adera Editions, 2015
translation : John Tittensor
The way Benítez underscores and intensifies creative operations like montage and assemblage situates his works in the domain of the trial, the tryout, the fitting; an art like that of tacking, when the pieces of a garment are sewn together with visible white thread before the finishing process begins. Tacking, then, is the next-to-last stage; and this somewhat surprising dressmaking analogy sits well with an art that gives rise to sutures, to points of weakness that are the signs of work done, of the item in the process of construction/deconstruction. This is the merely apparent vulnerability of creations which, like the reed, bend with the wind that can topple the mighty oak.

This undisguised fragility enables the artist to give a light, laid-back twist to a notion of construction/deconstruction that could easily have submitted to the artificiality, reversibility and disappearance of things. Transcending of contradictions, intensification, indecisiveness, oscillation, vibration, the art of nuance, the non-willingness to cling: these are some of the essential traits of Barthes's "neutral", which thwarts binary logic and leaves meaning hanging. There are countless affinities between the art of Jesús Alberto Benítez and the intense neutral to which Barthes devoted a course of lectures at the Collège de France. At work in that art is a principle of sensitivity to what is neglected, to what usually goes unheeded, to what, so to speak, we cannot see. 

Text by Jesús Alberto Benítez, 2014

I work in a space in which almost everything is likely to become a drawing.
The bidimensional nature of images is confronted to the physical and concrete aspect of a printed sheet of paper. A drawing is the result of an interaction of various tools, as if it were a recording of ephemeral gestures over a surface. The empty sheet of paper is a space that can be shaped by a mark, a fold, a dot. Each image is built through a connection of gestures with concrete space. A photograph or a drawing are objects which are mostly made out immaterial substance, but they are also physical elements, as most other things.
With the wall, images become installation objects. The interaction with a place furthers the spatial questioning that holds into each image. The apparently empty area around each image is invariably filled by real space. The ephemeral aspect of an installation gets confronted with the apparent permanence of prints and drawings.
Images follow a spiral that extends and contracts itself through the interferences between fact and representation.