Benjamin Ryan – Benjamin Ryan

With works on display from over a hundred cities in more than thirty countries, the grammar of engaging space through seemingly weightless compositions of the numerous nostalgic Dutch doors of his grandparents’ house to a lonely coffin, Benjamin Ryan confronts the first colossal and fully functional folding chair in the gallery, discussing the possibility of encoding – while simultaneously withdrawing – subjective qualities into the content of an artwork given its most provocative expression in the sculptural centerpiece, an industrial humidifier channeled by ‘air curtains’ from high efficiency fans that are improvisational, they depend on fixed structures as notated in scores; this stable framework can provoke countless variations and possibilities on a green trapezoid collaged on an aerial shot of the site that will bear no immediately striking human resemblance in the compositional structure of the work, complete with its predetermined periodic eruptions, overflows and scatterings, building a perverse model fabricated from wood and painted with monochromatic layers of acrylic nullifying these works to resemble sleek geodesic dome architecture, constructions that reflect the aspirations of a group of radical artists and filmmakers to create a black mirror that is mounted on a large cinematographic plane for constant revision, as well as reception in real time on scrunched paper tossed with intense exertion momentarily obliterating it as an official place for the collective body of ethics and politics, terrifically signaling complicity, or purity of purpose with matter––sticks, shovels, mud, rope, an enormous steel spool––to create a contraption that looks more like a misuse of diagrammatical conventions to model reality in a way that accommodates the forces of imagination immediate to our engagement with a useless room: part manager’s office, part washroom for the description of the old metaphysical opposition between appearance and essence, the vast motivated polemic against design, launched to feature cut, repackaged, and painted steel rods dipping in earnest, yet it is impossible to understand many of the discussions among designers, artists, and art theorists over the course of the twentieth century when the carpets are transformed from floor-based furnishings into wall-based supports, mathematical signage proffering a translating mechanism to reveal the relationships between the products of immaterial production aren’t objects but new social or interpersonal relations; immaterial production in which patrons pay to shoot BB guns at floating balloons in an attempt to bring about such a metanoia—an effort to see one’s own body and one’s own surroundings as purified of everything earthly, arbitrary, and subjected to a particular aesthetic taste long after the body has confronted the composition, with a rise, climax and fall, reminiscent of a typical dramatic or musical arrangement imposed with the presence of a long, smooth pallet wrapped in thick plastic that has been beaten and scattered onto the pale floor and it is in this elegiac and balletic performance the exhibition deftly announces “The content is the form! It is the colour!”


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