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Creative Research Lab

SHIFT (MFA1) - March 2008

Jani Benjamins

Jani Benjamins
Little Fugue (detail), 2007-2008
styrofoam, wood, CDs
80"h x 24 "w x 24 "d

My objective is to make art that challenges viewers by arresting their attention, slowing them down, and leading them into a visually contemplative zone where their primary activity is to look rather than to comprehend. I allude to the passage of time both physically and metaphorically, whether it is with the paintings' surface density, the drawings' layering, or the conceptual displacement of memory in the photographs.

I approach my work with an interest in information displacement. For instance, I might start with a page from National Geographic and then gradually erase information while preserving selected fragments of the original content. I expose a picture's hidden violence, raw emotion, and uncanny sensibility. In doing so, I disrupt the illusion of straightforward reportage with ambiguity and contradiction, making a purely literal interpretation impossible.