© James Benning, 2016. Courtesy the artist and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
measuring change (Dir. James Benning)
Date: April 12, 2016
Location: Art Share L.A.
Address: 801 E. 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA. 90013
James Benning in conversation with film critic Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter) following the screening!
Towards the end of 2015, James Benning made one of his occasional expeditions to Utah, to the place where Robert Smithson's colossal land-sculpture Spiral Jetty (1970) extends out into the Great Salt Lake. The water-level was low, leaving the vast bulk of the Jetty exposed in the crisp air. His film measuring change captures two thirty-minute periods of that particular day, in the unblinking, unmoving takes that have become his trademark––beginning at 8:57am and 3:12pm respectively. A belated digital companion piece to his 16mm masterpiece casting a glance (2007), this new film hypnotically contemplates Smithson's art-work in relation to its wider environment and to the humans who walk on and around its gargantuan coils.. ~ Join us for a post-screening reception at Angel City Brewery (216 S. Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA. 90012)
James Benning’s movies pose an idealistic challenge, a spur to unattainably pure observation...Harking back to the actualities of early, pre-story cinema, it extends their direct gaze––exploring the properties of both the world and our perceptual apparatus, typically with a static camera––into increasingly extreme duration.
Nick Bradshaw, Sight & Sound
Revisiting and recycling can produce complex temporal schemes that combine the historical time of a place or object with the time spent by Benning in observation, exploring the capacity of film, as a time-based medium, to reconstruct or even retrieve the past time registered by landscapes and artifacts.
Ailson Butler, LOLA
Hogarth spoke of art that leads the eye “on a wanton kind of chase,” and Benning’s roads carve oblique or sinuous paths into fields, plains, deserts, and forests.
David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art
Like Smithson, [Benning] can now lay claim to a rare and excitingly "dangerous” quality in his art: to confront oneself with Benning's films can lead to a permanent change in the way one perceives the world.
Austrian Film Museum
The different phases of Benning’s career inform his more recent work...which looks at and listens to the world with an acuity grounded in firm convictions that duration and a rigorous formal aesthetic can give way to films that allow us to see differently and to read the inscription of the political into the places that surround us.
Harvard Film Archive