PRINT January 2007


Sadie Benning

IN THE AFTERMATH of September 11, Sadie Benning took photographs—hundreds of them—on the streets of Milwaukee and Chicago. That obsessive endeavor turned out to be merely the beginning of a long-term project: Deploying a transfer process modeled on Henry Darger’s, Benning started making drawings based on her pictures. These stark black-and-white renderings of train stations, storefronts, and other urban settings, punctuated by static images of television shows and newspaper photos of helmeted soldiers, provided much of the substance for her most ambitious work to date, a video called Play Pause, 2006. Like her initial photographic tour, the thirty-minute, two-screen animated video takes a meandering, nonlinear path. There is no single protagonist, but rather a series of loosely connected scenes devoid of dialogue; Benning’s adjacent screens play off each other rhythmically, seemingly

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