Thursday 18 February 2016

DAVID BEN WHITE   A Few Questions and Answers

“Simply to hang a painting on the wall and say that it’s art is dreadful. The whole network is important! When you say art, then everything possible belongs to it. In a gallery that is also the floor, the architecture, the colour of the walls.”[1]

Absorbed within the language and aspirations of modernist architecture, design and art, my work seeks to undermine its self-enclosed logic. Working within institutional/corporate public spaces that reflect the ongoing allure of modernist mythology, like an interior designer, I create environments that offer a counter-narrative, offering a new set of possibilities to their surroundings. Through the depiction and stylization of domestic environments, I introduce rogue ingredients within the modernist DNA structure and this accent on the domestic interior space, with its familiar tropes allows for a more personal space to emerge in contrast with the modernist logic in which we have become familiar. Recalling conversations with my late grandmother, Elizabeth Benjamin, a committed modernist architect, whose belief in the unifying force of modernist design was absolute, my work sets out to challenge some of her assumptions. Understanding that the logic of modernist formalism was its own didactic authority, the imposition of the personal can offer a new dialogue to emerge. By reducing the distance between the personally idiosyncratic and the institutionally constructed modes of commerce/display, I am interested in constructing a dialogue in which to lessen the distance between the public and the private and through that, the distance between the experience of the contemporary in life, art and design.

[1] Interview with Martin Kippenberger and Jutta Koether, Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, ed, Ann Goldstein, MIT Press 2008.

Fabrication of Pleasure   2014

Have you shown your work on a non-white cube space before?
Many times. The most important project for me was Temples to the Domestic, sited within the Clifford Chance offices in Canary Wharf. It was in writing the proposal for the project that I found many of the central themes of my practice.
What does this sort of space bring to the work?
It helped me to formulate the question: How does our surrounding container affect us and how can we affect it? It brought the container into the equation in a very clear way.
Does the environment in which you exhibit your work change how the work is perceived?
Maybe, but what is central to my thinking is how does my work affect the environment in which it is perceived?

Fabrication of Pleasure   2014

David Ben White (b.1965, London) studied at Central St Martins (2003 – 2006) and Chelsea College of Art (2009-2011.) In 2011, White was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011 and exhibited at S1 Artspace ( Sheffield) and the ICA London. In 2012, White was the winner of the Clifford Chance/University of the Arts Sculpture Award for which he created the exhibition ‘Temples to the Domestic’ at the London offices of Clifford Chance. White has exhibited his work extensively in the UK as well as internationally. Recent solo shows include ‘Inside Outside’ (2015) with L’étrangère Gallery and ’Living Room’(2014) at Kerstin Engholm Gallery in Vienna. Previously he exhibited a number of solo shows with Studio 1.1 (2006-09.)
Collaborating and curating with Justin Hibbs, the two artists have worked together on many projects including ‘Temples to the Domestic,’ the Coleman Project Residency 2012, entitled ‘Lost Properties’ and in 2008, the exhibitions ‘Working Space 1 & 2’ at The Arts Gallery, London and Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Lausanne. He is represented by L’étrangère gallery in London and Kerstin Engholm Gallery in Vienna.
Texts on David’s work can be found in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011, New Contemporaries (1988) ltd, Double V. #5, 2010/2011- omnivore. Visarte.vaud. Academy Now 1, 2014, Damiani press and ‘Interiors, Design, Architecture, Culture Vol.4’ 2013, Temples to the Domestic interview with Victoria Walsh. He lives and works in London

twitter  @davidbenwhite


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