Ben Verlangen


Ben Verlangen’s work focuses on the way in which photographic imagery is used in journalism, advertising, displays, and book illustrations. Carefully choosing his subject matter, enlarging it, and airbrushing it onto canvas, he questions the meaning of the photographic images he appropriates. Verlangen doesn’t believe in making things easy for the viewer; his paintings defy the ordinary boundaries between the figurative and the nonfigurative. By combining geometric patterns and photography-based images, he highlights the tension between perception and the way it is affected by the mass media.

War and Peace: The Politics of Perception, 1989–90, consists of the image of People’s Army soldiers dancing in Beijing’s Tienanmen Square, subjected to a barrage of geometric cells, in which another picture of soldiers practicing kung fu is hidden. It seems as if both images are struggling for visibility.

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