Artist Benjamin Hannaby Cosen (born 1977) studied at the University of Leeds near his home, and his work focuses on translating literature into the visual arts. By developing a unique “color register” for each book he focuses on, his work effectively becomes a visual translation. Writer Hannaby Cosen writes extensively on art, history and visual culture, bringing another dimension to his artistic practice. Employing a unique and unique method of applying paint using a syringe, the artist not only addresses the boundaries between visual art and literature, but also between painting and sculpture, adding texture and tactile elements to his work. provide.
We reached out to Hannavy Cousen to learn more about his inspiration, how he creates his work, and his plans for the future.
Please tell us about your journey as an artist. where did you start?
Art has always been an integral part of life. It was part of my childhood. My parents met at art school and my father is a painter. I always thought that was what I wanted to do, but for complicated reasons, I pursued an academic life until I realized that what I really wanted was to create something meaningful through art. . I needed to take a leap of faith. It became easier when I arrived at the paint language I use now. I am interested in these two languages and wanted to combine them to create a new way of expression.
Can you tell us how you create your work from a technical point of view?
I build most of my work with syringes and needles, but I’m starting to see them as constructions rather than paintings. I needed a way to layer the colors so that each line would hold perfectly and would be almost archaeologically ‘readable’ even when layered or buried. I paint pictures that make the physical reading process. Something cannot be deciphered and is stored in memory. Often my paintings have a large collection of paint. It’s like the acquisition of this “read” text. These works will be about memory itself. The use of literature is a tool that seeks to express something universal.
These works are just paintings on a flat surface. Three-dimensional shapes are created by layering paint, and are born from physics rather than design.
Literature plays a central role in your work, and your work is named after a novel. How do you choose which books to focus on? Beyond titles, how do they understand each work?
Books play an essential role. The colors that appear in each picture are the colors that appear in the text. If the book has “red” before “blue”, then “red” will appear before “blue” in the picture. I developed “color unconsciousness”. Every text has this unique unconscious. My job is to bring it out and turn it into something. These writers are somehow subconsciously creating these paintings, and I work with them.
Often a nod to the subject of the book.For example, a picture of Iris Murdoch sea, sea (2020) has a disturbing, sinuous shape meant to reflect the sea monsters that haunt the story.
As for how to choose a book, I think it’s best to read without any preconceived notions of what makes a picture. It’s always clear what works.
How do you want your viewers to experience your work?
I would appreciate it if you could feel a little bit of joy. It is important that my paintings are accessible as objects without knowing all the theories that go into them. If you want it to be purely aesthetic, stop halfway through construction when it “looks good”.
i hope they [lead] For a new way of looking at texts, paintings and memories. I want the viewer to get rid of the feeling that everything has an undercurrent.
Who are the artists or writers who have influenced your work the most?
I try to be open to influence from anywhere. I’ve been experimenting with Instagram lately and there are some interesting things there. But you can come up with a classic list: Bridget Riley, Ali Smith, Virginia Woolf, WG Sebald, JM W Turner, Gerhard Richter, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Werner Herzog, Soren Kierkegaard, Jill Druze, D. Ferret.
Last year you had a show called “Rings of Saturn and Other Objects” at the Merville Gallery. Please tell me about it.
Named after a book by WG Sebald. Saturn’s rings (1995)—I haven’t yet had the courage to paint Sebaldo. However, there were discrepancies as many of the paintings were so dystopian. Chernobyl prayer (2020), first circle (2020), 1984 (2017). It’s interesting how many Russian texts I write. I like translating books, and these are translations of translations (Walter Benjamin calls this a process of constant refinement). His sci-fi paintings about Isaac Asimov, Ted Chiang, M. John Harrison, alice in wonderland.
Do you have any new projects in the works for the new year, or any new ideas you’d like to work on?
I have many plans. In October, she was a guest artist at the Sculpture Gallery in Leeds. zinc boy (2022) is currently on display there. I am interested in this connection between painting and sculpture, and I have an idea to create a sculpture that becomes a painting. I also plan to do another series that has little to do with literature.
I’ve worked with Merville Galleries for seven years, which has been great, but they no longer do art fairs or shows. With their support, I am looking for new representatives and look forward to the opportunities and challenges that they bring.
Read more about Benjamin Hannavy Cousen and his work here.
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