Artist-in-residence of the 14th edition of the Planches Contact festival, Jacopo Benassi Italian (b. 1970) takes an iconoclastic approach to photography, using it as a “gateway” to other practices: painting, sculpture and performance.
When he arrived in Deauville, Jacopo Benassi had in mind to experience the place first and foremost as a painter: “Walking along the beach, taking notes in a drawing album, in the manner of William Turner, the artist I admire most.” At first, he produced paintings, marine scenes, flowery still lifes and skies largely inspired by the British painter. Photography came second in his process. It resonates with his painted visions. He took few photographs, letting himself be guided by the randomness of his surroundings.
When he returned to Normandy for the final phase of the work, Jacopo Benassi says the first thing he took out was a circular saw. He took over the remains of a former Planches Contact exhibition, where the scenography was still in place, and began cutting, drilling, painting, gluing and stapling. His paintings are superimposed on the photographs, and vice versa, held together by ratchet straps. The whole is framed by boards found in local warehouses.
These hybrid works are part of a scenography that is always pronounced for this artist, who considers it an integral part of the work. Breaches in the walls allow us to play with our eyes and draw parallels between the creations. A video shows us the entire creative process that led to the creation of this total work of art, built around the themes of strength, fragility and renunciation that animate all his work.
Jacopo Benassi also likes to confront our relationship with the work by partially hiding it. It’s a way for him to question the viewer and engage his or her imagination: what’s going on behind it? His dream, he tells us, is to stop showing his photographs, to turn them upside down so that visitors can think about them, imagine them and reflect on his work rather than simply look at it.