Shot By The Writer: The Sequel

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Plot Holes #4: Shattered Silence, Edition of 10, 2005 Iris Print 32" X 46" © Courtesy of the Artist and Frank Pictures Gallery
Shot By The Writer: The Sequel

2525 Michigan Ave. A5
Santa Monica, CA 90404
March 12th, 2011 - April 12th, 2011
Opening: March 26th, 2011 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

santa monica/venice
(310) 828-0211

Frank Pictures Gallery is proud to present the work of Tom Benedek in Shot By The Writer: The Sequel featuring works from his previous series from 2006 Shot By The Writer, as well as work from his new series Tortured Narrative.

Shot by the Writer began when screenwriter Tom Benedek realized he had run out of storage space in his garage, which was filled with 20 years of script projects, both produced and unmade. Among those that did become films were CocoonFree Willy and The Adventures of Pinocchio. But there were nearly two-dozen other completed scripts that never got a green light: An adaptation for Sydney Pollack about mental health. A drama about the Israeli spy Elie Cohen for Martin Scorsese. A comedy about a Soviet collective for the producer Ray Stark. Then he had a vision of shooting the scripts himself -- WITH A GUN. He hired a shooting coach and the project grew into a serious endeavor. He found that the objects he was creating - the shot-up scripts - were visually intricate and often quite beautiful. The poster-size prints are exotic swirls of torn paper and random words like "love" and "time." The 30-pound bronze sculptures, pockmarked with holes, have their titles etched in gold letters: Viagra Falls, a comedy written for the production company Working Title in 2001; Spells, a 1986 rewrite of a horror film. Benedek thinks of the actual shooting of these scripts as closure rather than catharsis. "Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's sad. When I look at the exit wounds, and the paper and the words exploded by the bullets as I photograph them, it feels like I'm taking the words back, like I'm creating something new from something old." And because Benedek is first and foremost a credit starved screenwriter, he is generous with his own -- every photograph includes the full provenance of the project: the title, the year it was written, the production company, the producers and the director and of course the full pedigrees of both the gun and the ammunition used in his shooting of each screenplay. In filmmaking, the screenplay is never an end in itself; rather it is a vehicle for further creative exploration. By making the screenplay (instead of the work on film) the objective and the end product of the artwork, Tom has corrected the internal contradiction inherent to the process. Tom’s artwork stars the screenplay, by “shooting the script” what he is really doing is liberating the word. The bullet holes pose a further irony, speaking to both the violence inherent in filmmaking and the violence done to the script’s creator and to the script (by the studio, the executives, the producers etc.).

Tortured Narrative extends the reach of Shot By The Writer to the realm of the novelist, as Tom Benedek's first novel, Peloponnesia, will be published in 2011.Tortured Narrative explores the raw states of a completed text, the manuscript of this novel. The photographs and sculptures in Tortured Narrative use physical drafts of this text in manuscript form, galleys and proof editions to establish visual representations of the emotional states inherent in the transition of imagined, written creations to print and paper forms through publication and into other states mandated by the passage of time. These visual representations seek to embody the universals of literary creation, of the writer's practice as the writing itself ferments, dissolves, reconfigure naturally in the writer's mind beyond the final text on the printed page.

Benedek was born and raised in Great Neck, NY and received his undergraduate degree in fine-art photography from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He got started in the movie business because he wanted to be a cinematographer yet his first break in the industry came in the 1970’s from writing a screenplay so he decided to move in that direction instead. He currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California and has been a visiting artist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has exhibited in the past at Cafe Luxe, The Writers Guild Foundation Library Gallery, and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. This is Benedek’s third show at Frank Pictures. Benedek’s first show Shot By the Writer was a featured article in the NY Times titled A Screenwriter Shoots His Own Unproduced Scripts, With a Gun:

Please CLICK HERE to view more work by Tom Benedek.


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