Benedikt Braun: actus coitus P(r)ost Kapitalist


What slaps you in the face when you walk in the space are miles and miles of garden hoses. When you look to see where they are coming from, you realize they are penises. Penises without end. Penises that are growing uncontrollably like Howard Hughes’ gnarled fingernails. There are three Benedikt Braun garden hose penises competing for first place, their ends extending somewhere beyond the gallery wall. We don’t need to see the ends. Any wins are short lived.

Another day, another competitor wins. All the Benedikt Brauns look alike. All the competitors are the same.

Besides, what does it mean to win anyway? Stock markets go up and down. Businesses are bought and sold. Others go under or are taken over. Products are purchased with no thought given to the working conditions of those who actually produced them. Purchasing power is real power in the power shopping world.

Welcome to Benedikt Braun’s P(r)ost Kapitalism.

The first place trophy goes to Benedikt Braun for his winning humour. Those who can laugh in times of turmoil are those who can come through it only slightly scathed. It is with this deliciously irreverent sense of humor that absurdist Benedikt Braun sees the state of the world.

This is the seed that becomes an idea. Sometimes the idea is enough for him and his work is done. Sometimes the ideas are allowed to grow and take shape. They evolve as they are produced. They mutate as they inhabit new spaces.

Braun’s pieces are in effect a re-evaluation of space.

And by space I refer to materials, time and concepts. Jackpot is a conveyor belt, but not just any conveyor belt. It is a circle going everywhere and nowhere. Sometimes it is still and sometimes someone somewhere hits a button and there is a rumble, the rumble of industry. It’s inescapably exciting and so sparkly!

Jackpot, actus coitus P(r)ost Kapitalist Benedikt Braun at The Grass is Greener photo maeshelle west-davies

Countless pennies flow around the belt, but sometimes a few jump out and get lost along the way. I wonder if you could keep it running until there were no pennies left. This is one of the many delightful surprises that happen when a work springs from Braun’s head and comes to life.

Is inflation unavoidable unless we have controls in place? If we enclosed the conveyor belt, would all the pennies stay on the belt or would they fall into the cracks? Would they then clog up the system, causing it to slow or even break down altogether?

The experiment causes you to question reality in a whole new light.

I found myself drawn to what I thought were tiles, but were actually pennies in individual plastic cases. Like rare finds collected from an archaeological dig, thousands of protected pennies are laid out on the floor. Some were even buckling, another happy accident that also describes our current economy. What will future civilisations say about us?

I loved that the guardrails were sawed off scaffolding. No way to go up. No way to come down. It is obvious he got his love of thought from his mother, the librarian, but he got his use of materials from his father, the architect.

Benedikt Braun photo maeshelle west-davies
Benedikt Braun photo maeshelle west-davies

I asked him who his influences were and he said he felt like a total outsider. He could relate to nothing he knew until one day he was watching a documentary and stumbled upon ‘pataphysics. It was like an awakening! I love the definition given by Higgs.

“While most take for granted the supremacy of rational scientific certainty, ‘pataphysics counters with hypothetical uncertainty. It asks the questions, “Why look for the truth? Why not believe in untruth? Why does belief in either case take itself so seriously? Why does belief, in effect, believe in itself? Why not move from the deceit of truth to the truth of deceit? In other words it offers the middle finger to convention.”

And what of the cover photo for the exhibition?

A stone statue that regularly loses its head, only to be replaced with the most popular one, in this case Benedikt Braun. Systems rise and fall. Who’s to say which one is better and which one is worse? Like the competing penises, there’s no way for everyone to win all the time.

No one but Braun, that is. With his often trashy medium, he causes us to smile while we think and then think again.

actus coitus P(r)ost Kapitalist
Benedikt Braun

The Grass is Greener
13 Aug- 10 Sept

Tue-Fri 1.00 – 6.00
Sat 11.00 – 6.00

Artist, curator and writer: maeshelle west-davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums.

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