Guy Ben-Ner

Konrad Fischer Galerie | Berlin

The charm of Guy Ben-Ner’s videos derives in large part from his unusual choice of actors—often the artist himself, his wife, and their child. True to form, Ben-Ner continued to avoid professional actors in his most recent video, Second Nature, made for the Liverpool Biennial in 2008. But this time, a fox and a crow are the stars, reenacting Aesop’s ancient fable of the fox and the raven with help from their trainers. And while “nurture” was an oft-repeated theme in his family films, Second Nature is an overtly behavioral experiment, in which the entire focus is on the conditioning of all participants—the trainers as well as the animals.

Ben-Ner films the trainers during the painstaking process of attempting to coach their animals with food and rewards to act out the fable’s plot. The artist also repeatedly appears on film in his role as director, interrupting the trainers to dispense

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