Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Sweetheart of the Camcorder

I'm departing from a fairly relentless focus on home and neighborhood to deliver a love letter to an artist I discovered yesterday. I'd gone down to Hyde Park for a Henry Darger exhibit--which was amazing, if smaller than I'd hoped--and stumbled into a room with a video installation by Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner. Ben-Ner, curbed by limited means, converted his small apartment into film sets and his children into collaborating players. Whether he's reinterpreting Moby Dick or Truffaut's L'enfant Sauvage, there's an incredibly precocious and self-effacing quality to his work. He's been likened to Buster Keaton, which is certainly an apt comparison (and one he references often).

I guess I can justify this post by saying that Ben-Ner, too, seems to be negotiating what it means to be home--although while I'm constantly working toward fixing and stabilizing my space, trying to turn it into a reliable haven and highly functioning machine, he's disrupting and reinventing his, defamiliarizing it, dressing it up in a new and disarming costume. I can barely even stand to vaccuum my house, much less turn it into a whaling ship.

Anyway, I've been trawling the internet today with all the giddiness of a high school girl, driving repeatedly past the house of her latest crush. If you're more internet savvy than I am and can find a full-length version of Stealing Beauty or The Wild Boy, you can thank me later. Just be sure to send me the link.

1 comment:

leslie said...

In your internet searches, have you found the Jerry Saltz review? I saw someone refer to it, but can't find it. I assume it was in the Village Voice? Anyway, this looks like very interesting work, and your contrast/comparison seemed dead-on.

Your loving take on your home is so nice. I'm constantly fighting ours, and am in a state of emotional exhaustion with it right now. Spring will mean a lot of hard work, but the warmer weather will help me feel less defeated and more proactive, I think (hope).