berlin

James Benning, After Howard, 2013, latex housepaint on plywood, 14 1/8 x 25 3/4".

James Benning

neugerriemschneider

James Benning, After Howard, 2013, latex housepaint on plywood, 14 1/8 x 25 3/4".

Often misread as a structuralist filmmaker, James Benning is really more of a landscape poet. His work reflects a complete surrender to the mired totality of the natural world, yet he is ever mindful of humankind’s tinkerings and contaminations. In recent years, Benning’s oeuvre has extended beyond cinema—though, thankfully, he had not completely neglected it. His 2011 Two Cabins project was inspired by a perceived affinity between two philosopher-seekers of the American back-to-nature dream, Henry David Thoreau and Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski. On his own property in the Sierra Mountains of Southern California, Benning meticulously reconstructed the cabins of both men based on details left behind in their writings, as well as, in Kaczynski’s case, FBI photos: The work is not so much an act of appropriation as a living (and lived-in) homage to the mystique of the self-styled

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2014 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.