Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
September 03, 2005 through January 08, 2006
Curated by Curator: Matt Distel
"Why does someone imagine their home as someplace else?"
The video works by Guy Ben-ner draw us in with their charming simplicity - parents playing with their children, building clever devices, toys, sets and characters that inevitably delight and amuse. The distance between child and adult is compressed and we, the audience, are reminded of the sheer joy of playing make-believe and dress-up and watching adults act silly for our pleasure. Beneath this playful atmosphere, however, Ben-Ner tackles some of the very difficult universal (and the intensely personal) issues swirling around any domestic environment. Along the way Ben-Ner extracts references from such far flung sources as French New Wave cinema, conceptual art, Rube Goldberg, nature films, classic literature, transgressive body and performance art, and the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
Throughout each of the four videos presented here, Ben-Ner demonstrates an astonishing economy of means constructing ad-hoc props and sets in his kitchen, city parks and his son's bedroom. The works in this exhibition span the years 2000 to 2004 and overlap with the Ben-Ner family's move from Tel Aviv, Israel to New York City. Ben-Ner's parental responsibilities and housing situation are inextricably linked to his work. Rather than attempting to find time away from his family to create work in his studio, Ben-Ner faces these issues head-on, occasionally placing the audience in the uncomfortable position of witnessing the intimate moments of someone else's family.