Artist: Julie Béna
Exhibition title: GENESIS
Curated by: Christina Gigliotti
Venue: Polansky Gallery, Brno, The Czech Republic
Date: September 6 – October 20, 2018
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Polansky Gallery, Brno
Death has an echo. After the dissolution of the source, it reverberates infinitely.
Does death touch for an instant, or is it always touching, slowly covering mouths with its fingers until one finally chokes on their last breath?
Julie Béna presents GENESIS, her first solo exhibition in Brno, Czech Republic. The sculptural installation materializes as a forged forest – branches rising out of twisted metal and stone. Ascending from the thicket is Béna’s towering hybridized behemoth. Inspired by the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons and set in a future where humans and artificially intelligent beings struggle to save their universe, evil takes the form of a mysterious entity that meticulously kills almost all who cross its path by skewering its victims on an enormous tree, leaving them there half-alive to suffer for eternity. Its shape-shifting sharp, sinewy forms simultaneously beckon and threaten, escaping classification and judgement. A creature, a weapon – this fusion blurs any boundaries between life and death and leaves only unanswered questions in its wake. From a distance, one can hear only the scraping, thunderous sounds of a nearing storm.
Julie Béna (b. 1982 in France, lives and works in between Paris and Prague) works on environments that draw inspiration from the world of literature, film, theater and popular culture. Béna studied at the Villa Arson in Nice and attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academie at Amsterdam. In 2012-2013, she was part of le Pavillon, the research laboratory of le Palais de Tokyo.
Béna was recently nominated for the Prix AWARE Women Artists Prize. Recently she has held exhibitions at the Passerelle Art Center in Brest, Galerie Joseph Tang, FUSED Space in San Francisco, Mathew NYC, and Bozar in Brussels. Her recent institutional performances took place at Fondation Ricard, M Leuven, ICA London, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. In 2018, Béna is invited to participate in the next Biennale de Rennes. In 2019, in the frame of Satellite, she will open her first solo show at a Parisian institution at Jeu de Paume. Her upcoming performances will take place at Independent Brussels, Centre Pompidou, and MRAC Serignan