Jane Benson: Half-Truths

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Jane Benson: Half-Truths


28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
90 ills | 144 pages

Contributors: Nico Israel, Steven Matijcio, Sara Reisman


Jane Benson: Half-Truths is the first major monograph for the British-born, New York-based artist Jane Benson, published on the occasion of a significant survey exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, 2017. The book traverses the landscape of Benson’s quietly intense practice, tracing a path through the past decade as she splits, fractures, excises and skews archetypal structures into poignant reassemblings.

Benson has orchestrated a number of projects involving string instruments that have been cut in half and reconnected by way of performers in both near and distant places: her 2015 project The Splits involved splicing a viola, a cello, a double bass and violins in half, and then encouraging musicians to attempt to play them in a collaborative performance. Their traditional sound is forever lost in the process, but in the futile yet fertile attempts to rediscover melody, these wounded fragments become revealing agents of poetry, metaphor and collaboration.

In the book, Benson’s centrepiece is a dual-channel video entitled Finding Baghdad (Part A), which draws on these previous themes by depicting two Iraqi brothers in Germany and Bahrain playing another severed half instrument. Benson explores the social reverberations caused by geo-cultural separation via these siblings who fled Baghdad in early 2002: as they forge a haunting piece of music, the brothers momentarily bridge the distance between them through a delicate ballad that turns displacement into dialogue.

Jane Benson: Half-Truths features a pair of essays and an interview with the artist, which collectively explore Benson’s unique strategies of synthesis and renewal by way of, and in response to, the fissures that define contemporary ways of being.


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