Amel Bennys

Tunis : 14 April 2016 - 20 May 2016

Press Release

For Amel Bennys colour is as equally a structure as a three-dimensional object in space and so layered textures and pigments define much of her work. This exploration of texture and material gives way to the visual knowledge of form through colouration. For the artist, colour becomes a point of departure in exploring the depths of architectural form. In her paintings one can note the manner in which colour acts as a constructive tool: the purity of pigment stands flat on the canvas and thus become a structure in and of itself.

Amel Bennys’ paintings are similarly lyrical and exist as a natural and fluid extension of sculptural figuration. Instead of canvas, the majority of Bennys’ small paintings are made on the same lead that she includes in her sculptures. The congruency of material in each praxis, painting and sculpture, forms an exquisite rapport between the differing works. The viewer comprehends that reconciling the construction of pigments, textures, structures and hue is consistent to the handling of raw materials in an architectural manner. The exploration of material in this manner was propagated by the Cubists during the early 20th century. Artists such as Picasso and Braque treated paint as a supplemental surface upon which a structure could be built. Bennys’ practice exists within the same realm: in the incessant layering of deliberately flat pigments, the tableau becomes the art object as a three-dimensional structure.

‘I work slowly, applying layers upon layers of paint while the canvas rests on the floor. I use the same technique for the pieces that I mount. I apply, I remove, I rivet or I strip the masses or the shapes to create something grotesque that stands or that is almost standing still. Once it is born into the world, whether existing in a painting or in a given space, anything can slip, fall or escape.

While making reference to what already exists in form or in color, there is a unique possibility to accept the intolerable… that is through a game. This is a unique game to create a visual that is neither decorative nor arbitrary, but can exist on its own in the here and now.

‘Being there’ is the main aspect of my work, as if my daily practice is to notice or to mount these masses or forms in an attempt to grasp matter itself, its existence and therefore its non-existence. 

With my new work -silkscreen on canvas- I started with a picture of an old train, the TGM, a steel train that runs between Tunis and El Marsa. After erasing a little the subject I worked straight on it with forms of painting. The borders, the lines became difficult to catch. It starts to form an elusive border between the painting and the picture behind, the same work but two different worlds.