curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran

Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo

Feb 1 – April 24, 2019

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Frank Benson (b. 1976) is one of the most fascinating sculptors of his generation of American contemporary artists. Through the years he has developed an important body of sculptures and photographs. However, it is not a large body, since the artist has a perfectionist, slow and meditative relationship with time within his creative processes.

Benson’s early sculptures were smaller, composed of different elements that created narratives with a ‘surrealistic’ flair. Then came Human Statue (2005), a sculpture of a man pretending to be a statue. This hyperrealist work introduced a series of human-scale figurative sculptures on which he has been working for the last ten to fifteen years. Human Statue has an unnerving presence, due to the attitude and abstruse expression of the model. This is characteristic of the recent sculptures, where the models play an active role. In Human Statue (Jessie) (2011), the artist emphasises the gestural and physical qualities of the choreographer and dancer Jessie Gold. Human Statue (Juliana) (2015) is based on artist Juliana Huxtable’s self-portraits, which go beyond realism. All these sculptures of human figures have a very strong and active relationship with the space surrounding them.

The aesthetic development in the appearance of Benson’s figure sculptures is interesting to follow especially after he adopted 3D modelling programmes. This has given the figures amore constructed and distanced look and an ‘écriture’ that adds to the works a clear touch of originality and gives them a unique place within a long line of figurative sculptures in art history.

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Photos by Anders Valde

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