Carole Benzaken: Land of the Sun

9 September - 14 October 2006 Cloître Saint-Merri I & II - Paris

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is pleased to present the recent works of Carole Benzaken in a new series entitled « Land of the Sun ».

Winner of the 2004 Marcel Duchhamp Prize, Carole Benzaken exhibited a series of work from « Search for the New Land » at the Espace 315 of the National Museum of Modern Art in December 2005.

For this new exhibition, Carole Benzaken creates a scenario composed of paintings, drawings, and video, through which she explores the meaning of exoticism.
One piece marks the start of this search : a portrait of a pineapple torn to shreds, the painting of an object found decomposing in Paris.
Another piece symbolizes a destination : the « Port of no Return », marine painting of Ouidah in Benin, a place filled with the memory of exporting African slaves.
This exhibition also marks the powerful return of drawing as an independent, separate medium entering a direct dialogue with painting. Here, it is a question of images, of meetings and crossed, even multiplied, paths. Painting becomes abstract, or rather abolishes the obsolete frontier between the abstract and the figurative. The initial image decomposes into joyous explosions of color and leaves for its destination, meeting an image from « Port of no Return » at Ouidah, land of an exotic, deceptively peaceful sea, whose beauty masks one of the most horrifying dramas of the human condition : the departure, indeed the non-return, of slaves.  It is Carole Benzaken's mission to question these images, their foundations and origins, and then go beyond these beginnings in a back-and-forth quest - a quest that can also, through the paintings of sunsets and serene appearances, bring her back to Los Angeles, her home, to the heart of the surviving, « replanted » community.

Carole Benzaken, born in 1964, Grenoble. Lives and works in Paris.
In 1994, the Cartier Foundation dedicated a personal exhibition to her.  Since then, Carole Benzaken has participated in numerous exhibitions at institutions and museums, both in France and abroad (Villa Arson, Nice, 1995 ; CAPC, Bordeaux, 1999 ; Gunma Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan, 1998 ; Espace Paul Ricard, Paris, 1999 ; "Dear Painter, paint me", Centre Georges Pompidou, 2002, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt and Kunsthalle, Wien, 2002 ; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing, 2003 ; Espace 315 Marcel Duchamp Prize, Centre Georges Pompidou, 2004 ; MoMA, New York, 2006 (Print Room).
Represented by the Galerie Nathalie Obadia since 1993, her work has also been shown at Anina Nosei Gallery, New York ; INMO Gallery, Los Angeles ; Anne Faggionato Gallery, London; Skarstedt Gallery, Stockholm.
In September 2007, Carole Benzaken will participate in the exhibition « Beasts and Men » at the Villette Grand Hall.