Concerned with division and connection, the disruption of traditional aesthetic processes, and the fractured nature of geo-political territoriality, New York-based artist Jane Benson explores the social consequences caused by geo-cultural separation. Her practice transcends the boundaries of each object and performer by revealing their dichotomies, which allows Benson to not only transform the objects but to reveal a poignant identity.
Half-Truths, on view at the Contemporary Art Center from July 15 to October 22, includes sculpture, drawing, and weaving that expand upon the aforementioned themes. A video of two Iraqi brothers, who escaped from Baghdad in early 2002, begins with two instruments as they are perfectly split in two. A virtual duet played by the brothers on these half instruments, from their respective new homes in Germany and Bahrain, reveals a momentary bridging of distance through an emotional ballad that marries technology and tradition. Precariously balanced on tables and mirrors, Benson’s hybrid instruments stir uneasiness as their off-kilter nature suggests perpetual turmoil. Shredded flags combine all the emblems of the countries where two Iraqi brothers’ immediate family live. Along with drawings made by repeated turns of her half-instruments, charcoal self-portraits made by blindly rubbing her own body and a series of incised texts that transform book pages into musical scales, Benson cobbles fertile new forms from the fractures of old.
A book on Jane Benson’s Half-Truths is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.