15 – 31 October 2021
BABEL visningsrom for kunst welcomes you to the solo exhibition Living Objects by Anton Benois 15. – 31. October
OPENING Friday the 15th of October at 19.00
ARTIST TALK by Anton Benois in conversation with Mishi Foltyn Sunday the 31th of October at 14.00
Living Objects is an exhibition born of a year-long dive into Norwegian cultural institutions where the visitor is presented with an opportunity for experiential time travel. In these spaces actors dressed in clothing of a past time perform tasks from long ago. In this process they become part of the museum collection: they are living cultural artefacts, living objects. The exhibition is a search for the origins of these living objects, their modes of becoming, their reflection in the touristic gaze. It is a journey paralleling contemporary labour flows, cultural shifts and the collective search for closeness in the post-digital world.
Anton Benois (b. 1979, Moscow) lives and works in Oslo. He received an MFA from Kunstakademiet i Trondheim in 2019. He has had several solo and collaborative exhibitions in Norway, the Netherlands, Australia and Germany. He has an upcoming solo exhibition at Telemark Kunstsenter in Skien in November this year.
The exhibition is made possible with support from Kulturrådet.
YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK
Nothing disappears completely.
That which survives its own temporal existence cannot be defined by perishable traces, memories or relics alone. There is something else that persists when a thing that has once been here no longer exists. It lingers, just out of reach, and continues to substantiate everything that comes after it.
Try following your own tracks back to where you came from. You cannot. The only way to look far enough back in time is by burying yourself in sediments left by history. You understand this, and try to say something about who you are, or have been, by accumulating things over time. By quantifying objects; objects that are intended to explain a subject.
You are not alone. We collect and preserve objects that consist of fragmented and uncertain links between detailed representations on the one hand and personal interpretation on the other. We show them off and seek them out as a reminder. Or maybe as a guarantee of knowledge. In the standardized urban contexts we have built around ourselves, which are seldom able to reflect who we are, we have created dedicated spaces that aim to preserve these objects of knowledge: Museums. Memorials. Historical districts. At some point, they might be able to say something about who we are. In the meantime, we can buy souvenirs.
We continue to look for qualities that have their very own origins. Their own dates. Situated in a specific place such as a church, a temple, a fortress, an apartment complex in the former Soviet Union. Without them we would disappear. There is a desperation to it, which is released in the museum. We are constantly trying to say more about ourselves, even though we know things disappear in the process.
Isn’t that what is happening here?
Anton Benois leads the viewer out of what is present. Out of what is close. Out of the representation. He takes you into something further away to tell you more about who we are. He wraps you in a bathrobe, serves relics of the past, comforts you with souvenirs and warms you with fleece jackets as time witnesses. We are living objects staged in an anti-museum. Full circle. When shooting film on a green screen you can alter the background of your scene, without anything disappearing. Isn’t that what is happening here?
You wake up from the noise of a helicopter passing by and a vague memory of where you came from. I’m following my own tracks and end up right behind you.
We can never go back.