The End of the Patriarchal System, an exhibition of sculpture, sound, composition, digital print and drawing by Jane Benson, will open on May 3rd, 2019, at LMAKgallery, New York. Working across several mediums Benson re-iterates and re-petitions the revolutionary work of British suffragette Mona Caird.
The End of the Patriarchal System, an exhibition of sculpture, sound, composition, digital print and drawing by Jane Benson, will open on May 3rd, 2019, at LMAKgallery, NY. Working across several mediums Benson re-iterates and re-petitions the revolutionary work of British suffragette Mona Caird.
The works presented in The End of the Patriarchal System are an extension of Benson’s interest in the creative potential of destruction, estrangement, and disorientation. Dismantling and reconstructing the classical structural form of the written text, Benson transcends the familiar and linear, cracking open perception by imbuing the object as well as historical subject with a regenerated role and function.
In the 1890s novelist, philosopher, academic and fierce feminist Mona Caird wrote a series of texts critiquing the status and destiny of women, oriented around subjects such as pursuit of career to self-sufficiency in marriage. Benson begins with a series of Caird’s essays, including The End of the Patriarchal System, A Moral Renaissance, and A Defense of the “Wild Women”, then re-writes and radically redacts the work. Benson excises all text, save the syllables of the musical score — do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti — revealing a found score. The excavated score hovers outside the original narrative of Caird’s essays belonging but separate revealing a tone reflective of the repressed history of women.
In a further step, Benson translates the excavated scores into ethereal, color field prints based on Isaac Newton’s Color Spectrum. Layers of dots in various hues, representing syllables of the solfège, create a moiré effect while evoking a critical and ever-evolving visual embodiment of women’s rights. The work’s luminosity reflects a contemporary re-awakening of the continued crisis addressed in Caird’s revolutionary texts.
A new sound sculpture, Limited Mobility Mobile X, takes central position in the gallery. The sound emitted from the active speakers of Limited Mobility Mobile X is a recording of the excavated score from one of Mona Caird’s philosophical texts “The Natural Principles of Society—Morals—Politics”. Whilst excising the text, Benson made the uncanny realization that, along with the solfège, certain words remain as a result of them being a combination of the syllables of the musical scale — for example, tire and fare. The words that remain, speak to the plight of women in society, for example, we are tired of the injustice; women do not fare well etc. The score is performed by mezzo-soprano, Hai-Ting Chinn. Chinn hums the syllables of the score and pronounces each of the found words.
Limited Mobility Mobile X consists of circular black speakers delicately attached to a curved steel rod and hanging lengths of speaker wire. The work is playfully reminiscent of Calder’s early mobile sculptures, though, two ball-like speakers that hang and touch the ground encumber any freedom of movement. Limited Mobility Mobile X echoes the limited mobility of women throughout history.
In a process of disruption and collaboration, Benson thus re-engages with the ground-breaking texts of Mona Caird, creating absences that are, in turn, stitched together across time and medium. In this, THE END OF THE PATRIARCHAL SYSTEM not only gestures toward the work of a single author, but also vocalizes with urgency the incomplete state of women’s equality in current times.
Born in Thornbury, England, Jane Benson lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Working mainly in sculpture, video, and performance, she is concerned with division and connection, the disruption of traditional aesthetic processes, and the fractured nature of geo-political territoriality. Benson has exhibited in national and international venues including MoMA PS1, NY; Sculpture Center, NY; Aldrich Museum, CT; The Institute of Contemporary Art, PA; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, UK; the San Jose Museum of Art, CA; North Carolina Museum of Art, NC; and Kunsthalle Emdem, Germany. Benson has also had numerous solo exhibitions, including at Contemporary Arts Center, OH; LMAKgallery, NY; Pavel Zoubok Gallery, NY; Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL. Her work has been reviewed in publications such as the NY Times, ArtForum, the New Yorker, Bomb magazine, Art in America, Time Out New York, Kuntsforum and Monopol, among others. Benson’s first monograph was published by Skira, March 2019.