Benoît Maire was born in 1968 in Pessac, France. He lives and works in Bordeaux, France.
Benoît Maire received his DNSEP degree from the Arson Villa in Nice (France, 2003) and a master's degree in Philosophy from Sorbonne, Paris 1 (France, 2002). He was granted a residency at the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris (France, 2005-2006).
In 2017, Benoît Maire won MÉCA's "1% artistique" prize (a project which was realized by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, in France), with his work Un détail (A Detail), a bronze sculpture representing half of Hermes's head. The work was installed on the outside steps later this year. He was also awarded the Solo Prize at Art Brussels 2017 with the Meesen de Clerq Gallery. In 2010, he received the Fondation Ricard Prize and the CNAP, Image/Mouvement Prize.
His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Thebes, now on view at the CAPC Contemporary Art Museum of Bordeaux (France, 2018); and recently Disaster at Galerie Croy Nielsen in Vienna (Austria, 2017); Cloud Paintings at the Arsenal in New York (USA, 2017); Castled at joségarcía in Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico, 2016); Castling the Queen at Meessen de Clercq in Brussels (Belgium, 2016); George Slays the Dragon at the Bielefelder Kunstverein (Germany, 2016); Nuages et déchets at the Galerie Thomas Bernard-Cortex Athletico in Paris (France, 2015); Sticker Beings at Kiria Koula in San Francisco (USA, 2015); Letre at La Verrière-Fondation Hermès in Brussels (Belgium, 2014); Spiaggia di menzogne (Lying Beach) at Fondazione Giuliani in Rome (Italy, 2013); Weapon at the David Roberts Art Foundation in London (United Kingdom, 2013); Soon the metal between us will turn into gold at the Kunsthalle in Mulhouse (France, 2011); and The Object of Criticism at Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art in Middelburg (Holland, 2011).
His work is present in important public and private collections, including FRAC Ile-de-France (Paris, France), FRAC Aquitaine (Bordeaux, France), the KADIST Art Foundation (Paris, France), the David Roberts Foundation (London, United Kingdom), FRAC Franche-Comté (Besançon, France), the Artotèque of Pessac (France), the CAPC Contemporary Art Museum of Bordeaux (France), the Nomas Foundation (Rome, Italy), the Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), the FNAC Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (Paris, France), the Fondazione Giuliani (Rome, Italy), the Mac/Val (Vitry-sur-Seine, France), the Fondation Francès (Senlis, France), and the Vancouver Art Gallery (Canada).
Benoît Maire has been represented by la Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels, since 2018.
The Peintures de nuages inscribe themselves in a series that the artist began in 2012. The works are oils on canvases, varying in format, upon which he depicts clouds, using a spray gun, paintbrush, or painting knife. The result is at times fluid and at others vaporous, with its translucent glazes. These paintings give birth to motifs that turn into figures who question the limits of abstraction by playing with the concept of pareidolia - a psychological phenomenon by which we recognize familiar shapes in landscapes, clouds, or ink stains. Through his careful composition and use of pentimenti, Benoît Maire invites us to project our imagination on these colorful backdrops and on these clouds with their blurry outlines.
In Benoît Maire's work, material is not just physical: it is also theoretical. Art and philosophy are inseparable. Concepts elaborated by Lyotard, Agamben, Bataille, or Lacan flood his works the way physical substances can. While it is the distinction between nature and culture that comes into question, Benoît Maire is also interested in the intrinsic qualities of the objects, which he chooses for their enigmatic power.
Benoît Maire can be described as a visual philosopher, taking inspiration from a range of disciplines including history, history of art, philosophy, psychoanalysis, or even mathematics, geometry and mythology. Using philosophical axioms, historical events and obsolete forms from history of art, the artist developps performances, organises debates and uses objects, paintings, drawings and films to create his own exhibitions. Maire's work is a puzzle in which the enigmatic quality of the objects - whether manufactured by the artist himself or by others - see their uncertain origin matched by their disconcerting juxtaposition.
The unique relationship he weaves between plastic form and philosophy as an extension of conceptual art makes Benoît Maire one of the most important artist of his generation on the European scene. For several years, his research has been focused on the question of measure, by proposing a philosophical allegory as a calculation between mankind and his environment.