Critics’ Picks

Will Benedict, Stop The Unrealistic Images of Liver in The Media, 2015, inkjet and graffiti on PVC in glass and steel frame, 73 1/2 x 49 1/2".

Brussels

Will Benedict

dépendance
Rue du Marché aux Porcs 4-8
May 31–July 13, 2019

Will Benedict’s exhibition “A Womb with a View” proposes an ontology of the contemporary image. This ontology—whether inkjet-printed, as in Aspirin Falls, 2015, or painted in gouache and layered with foamcore, as in Vein of Trolls, 2017—totters about, wary of its foundations. Benedict’s images, despite their pitiful attempts, never manage to gain independence (fitting for this particular gallery). The dots in the ironic Black Polka Dots and Ocher Polka Dots, both 2019, are in the style of Damien Hirst. The only differences between the pair are the distribution and color of the spots. Both paintings set out to be unique but end up very much alike. Each image is magnetic: It attracts substances and language fragments to the point of becoming multilingual unto illegibility—a perpetual collage where shapes nervously bump up against each other. He & She, 2015–19, layers two slightly irregular black circles, drawn with enamel marker, over the top corners of montaged photographs of Chinese books and their elaborate packaging. Lastly, Benedict's images are manipulated; no matter how badly we want the forms to arrive immediately intact, his bear the scars of cosmetic surgery. Stop The Unrealistic Images of Liver in The Media, 2015, presents its titular organ, a reddish-brown mass of tissue marred by graffiti, next to what appears to be a spiraling sinkhole, all together in a single steel frame. Are Benedict’s images “unrealistic”? The opposite feels truer, for their triumphs spring from their relatable failures, and from a visual indifference that still retains the ability to surprise.

Translated from French by Jane Brodie.