Scott Benzel' and 'What Does Possession Mean to You?
Opening and Performances Saturday, April 27th 7-10 PM
Preview(open to the public) April 20-26
Shows Closes Saturday, May 18
Human Resources is pleased to present two concurrent shows by Scott Benzel. The downstairs space will feature a show of the artist's recent work including large-scale installations, vitrines containing new works, and performances. The upstairs will feature What does Possession Mean to You? a selection of works and objects from Benzel's collection to be deaccessioned, stored, or promised to individuals and institutions following the closing of the show.
Benzel's conceptually-based practice is comprised of sculptural, photographic, sound, and performance works often employing readymade elements. His interest in "genealogy" or "geology" -the process of mining layers of history to trace connections between objects and ideas- serves as a thread through the diverse work. Meaning is often a product of recombination, with individual objects and ideas –often found or appropriated- operating as components in the system of each piece. Benzel interrogates the lines between appropriation and anthropological examination, collecting and authorship, poetics and politics and often employs strategies of reversal, inversion, and doubling.
The anthropological-poetic turn is expressed in a long plinth featuring a series of doubled objects reflecting the double articulation that occurs in appropriation: Untitled (for Gerard de Nerval)consists simply of two drinking glasses of sea-water- supposedly the eccentric poet’s favorite drink, Untitled (for Laurie Parsons) is a double noose on a bright yellow rope. The twin nooses suggest the chain of referral and influence between Parsons (the reclusive artist known for exhibiting disparate found objects) and Benzel. A nearby vitrine features an array of found defaced or altered objects including an Islamic Revolution-era Iranian banknote on which the Shah's face has been printed over in an elaborate Islamic pattern, a British coin with 'I.R.A.' etched onto the visage of the queen, and an Allen Ruppersberg work featuring a male crooner obscenely graffittied over by a visitor to an exhibition.
Turin Horse features a taxidermied giraffe from the neck up and a copy of "The Use and Abuse of History" by Friedrich Nietzsche recalling Nietzsche’s famous intervention into the beating of a horse by throwing his arms around its neck, often cited as the moment of his descent into madness. Un Coup de Des / Presence is a large-scale set-like installation. A table holds the ‘object’ from the cover of Led Zeppelin's album Presence, a copy of Mallarme’s Un coup de Des Jamais N’abolira le Hasard, and a revolver.
Kiosk features a vast number of books and magazines interweaving complex histories of influence and obfuscation displayed in the manner of the kiosk/bookstore in Jean Luc Godard's One Plus One. The books and magazines follow narrative links through unexamined histories of 20th Century radicalism, popular culture, and the avant-garde.
A new performance, Un Coup de Des / Presence, and a ‘recombination’ of Benzel’s Folk History and Non-Genre I for Female Black Metal Guitarist and Belt Sanders (2012), first performed at the Black Box as part of the Pacific Standard Time Performance Festival, will take place during the opening Saturday April 27 from 7-10 pm.
What Does Possession Mean to You? (upstairs)
Benzel’s poster for What Does Possession Mean to You? reworks Victor Burgin's seminal work of 1976 of the same title, substituting Burgin's glamorous couple redolent of a luxury goods ad with a still from a ‘Possession’- genre horror film. The poster and show posit possession by an evil entity as analogous to the influence of one's possessions over one’s life. The show focuses on selections from Benzel's collection: a small cave section, video, and portraits of Benzel by Mike Kelley, an early sculpture by Kathryn Andrews, a large silkscreened wallpaper by Olga Koumoundouros, the catalog of the first exhibition of conceptual art assembled by Seth Siegelaub, an early novel by Liam Gillick, and more by artists including Rodney Mcmillian, Marcel Broodthaers, Jakob Erol, Violet Hopkins, Martin Kippenberger, Malcolm McLaren, and Gustav Metzger. The collection is presented as a catalogue of influences: following the close of the exhibition, Benzel will ‘give up all material possessions for an undisclosed period’. The works will be stored, deaccessioned, or promised to institutions and individuals.
Scott Benzel is a Los Angeles-based artist and composer. His work was featured in Made in LA 2012 at the Hammer Museum and has been shown or performed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum Of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, LAXART, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. This is his second solo show at Human Resources.