GlogauAIR resident from 01 August 2016 to 30 September 2016
I am a magpie, but a very particular one. I go for objects or views that are shinny to me. Sometimes I may use the object directly through ﬁlming, or I may make a mould of the object and cast it in wax. I start by casting an object that appeals to me perhaps because of its shape or maybe it ﬁts in with some other piece or just because I like the look of it . In Film and sound I usually start out by trying to realize a particular idea but again I can add and remove pieces until it feels right, and this can happen over a long period. These pieces can sometimes cross over into print and take on a diﬀerent form and meaning. Simply put my working method in all materials is very Sculptural, basically sticking things together until they seem right and work for me. The work itself tends to have a slightly dark element, of course in terms of colour and weight but there is humour perhaps a little perverse and slightly hidden but it is there.
“The world stepped into when we explore Ben’s work is made up of things, materials, objects, stuff. Is it a door handle? A leather boot, A bag of materials that looks like but isn’t quite coal? Does it matter? These are old things. But the sense of the old is that of time as something pure. Unlike the reworking of the past we find in so much popular culture, this is a sensuous oldness; we want to touch and explore. We want to feel the object of time itself.
The installation Zeppelin is one example. The title refers to the object of the zeppelin itself with all its historical associations. But when engaging the sculpture, we are drawn to its clunky feel, its use of essentially old materials, bringing us back to that sensuous oldness that is not the past but time.
Another example is Bladderhead, a head cast of a weary, beaten down man; his eyes shut as if turning away from the sparkling newness of a world that confronts him at
every turn. Perhaps this man is defeated by the glittering objects that surround him;
the weariness he feels because of this. This weary figure pervades Ben’s practice across media. It feels as if he’s shutting his eyes in the hope that he can retreat into a world where the old is not the past but the shimmer of time itself. I wonder if this man is Ben, weary with this world and therefore making another. Or maybe he represents a part of me that wants to tune out of the present, if only for a moment.
But then a light bulb goes off and I think that Bladderhead is in fact us all, cast in that cultural constellation Fisher writes about as so obsessed with recycling the past, and therefore looking to retreat into a world both sensuous and old: the feeling of time itself.”
Mars, Wax, pigment and wood. 90 cm x 70 cm x 20 cm. by Ben Reilly
Bladder Head, Wax, steel and pigment. 180 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm. by Ben Reilly
Detail of Bladder Head, Wax, steel and pigment. 180 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm. by Ben Reilly
Dust, Wax and Pigment. Dimensions Variable, by Ben Reilly
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