I work slowly applying layers upon layers of paint while the canvas rests on the oor. I use the same technique for the pieces that I mount. I apply, I remove, I revet or I strip the masses or the shapes to create something grotesque that stands or that is “almost standing still”. Being here now in the world, to exist whether it’s 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 colour, 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 not decorative nor arbitrary, but can exist on its own here and now.
“Being there” is the main aspect of my work as if my daily practice to notice or to mount these masses or forms is an a empt to grasp ma er itself, its existence and, therefore, its non-existence.
Mr. A, or maybe it is Mrs A, is looking at a painting, watching a lm or a ballet. A painting, rather. A. asks where s/he should stand. And how long it takes to look at it. And what to look for. Mr/Mrs. A. is asking so many questions that s/he is not really looking at the painting.
The artist was there, talking to people, receiving compliments. A, asks: What can I say to him? What do I think about it? Did I understand it? What did I understand? Whatever. But I’m not going to run o like a thief, take a French leave. People would think that I didn’t like it. Don’t want them to think that.
And then s/he finds something to say, something nice, something for every situation, something that can’t be phony.
Meaning is not the fruit of our work.
Meaning is what comes last, in addition to the rest, and it’s not important.
We are wary of meaning; worse yet, contemporary techniques to reduce it. Reducing art to sentences is terrible; to slogans, no better.
Don’t look for the meaning. Don’t look for the mot juste. I don’t think they exist.
There is a sentence that hangs out in the books of film critics, “Every film contains a documentary of its own shooting.” Maybe it’s by Serge Daney.
I do not know what it meant, not really. I thought of “The Mother and the Whore”, or “Aguirre” or “Steamboat Bill Junior”. When we see them, we can understand how the filmmaker worked. Basically, I did not understand.
I understood this sentence thanks to the paintings of Amel Bennys.
These paintings are documentaries about when Amel painted them.
That gray band there is what happened when Amel painted a gray band. This time she wanted metallic gray.
I don’t think that this band has any particular meaning. Good luck to anyone who needs the words to explain it.
But there it is; before it was not there and now it is. And that is all there is, for that matter.
Works of art contain traces of their execution, therefore the trace of what they could be and they are not, and of what they have refused to be reduced to.
One day balance is reached. Well, no, this is not true, balance is nothing. One day, we reach a state of imbalance that gives the impression that we turned it into life. Then we say: “It is finished.”(…)
Excrept from the text Amel Bennys 1987>2013 by Mahdi Ben Attia