Beni Bischof, Discovery Award, Rencontres d’Arles 2016
ARTIST PRESENTED BY STEFANO STOLL
Beni Bischof, an unclassifi able visual artist, sculpts with clay, metal, or chewing gum, paints with watercolours, draws with his fingers and humorously takes inspiration from everything from art brut to Saint Gall sausage. His heavy use of photography is characterised by the re-appropriation of existing images from the internet or traditional media. His absurd digital manipulations and sometimesbrutal physical interventions reveal a kinship with Dadaism mixed with a neo-punk spirit. His prolific, chaotic, funny work challenges the status quo and can be approached from many different angles. What sets him apart is the freedom with which he interprets complex social phenomena. His magazines, installations, and visual re-appropriations are an attempt to inject meaning and poetic potential into the continuous media flow and recall that an image is above all a picture in the mind’s eye.
I work unrestrainedly and intuitively. Playfully, I condense the grotesque, ridiculous, banal, and absurd in a cryptic and ironic manner using a wide variety of media. In addition to drawings, collages, paintings, sculptures, and installations, my selfpublished magazine Lasermagazin , which was launched in 2005, attests to my eruptive creative drive. I translate spontaneous thoughts on social and political topics into bizarre and comical messages, into words and symbols of disarming immediacy. At the same time, I transport the promising and illusory world of glamour into subtle quotations of pictures and text. The banality of everyday life is disregarded, as are the dramas of the political agenda. I find my material in cheap novels, fashion magazines, advertisements, and the virtual world. I want to break the precious illusion of supposed exclusivity and present an abysmal view of society.
My intuitive approach, my constant absorbing of the surrounding world is based on a strategy that becomes evident through the unbridled interplay of extremely diverse source material. I translate wildly diverse influences from mass media into pointed contemporary art. My work develops fluidly and explosively. My pictures depict life in all its joy and misery, confusion and burlesques, which I playfully portray, in the blackest of tones, in pictures.
Prints by the artist and Picto, Paris.
Framing by Circad, Paris.
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle.