Ornis A. Gallery is proud to present the first solo exhibition of Dutch artist Benoît Hermans (1963) in the gallery showing his most recent work. Since the end of the eighties Benoît Hermans appropriates the collage technique as a starting point in his assembled paintings. The paintings are created from a continual interaction between reproductions of famous artworks, found objects and existing photos with selfpainted fragments. By montaging these elements together and by applying imaginative cutouts, the artist creates a new and different meaning in his assembled paintings. In the words of Rudi Fuchs ‘For once a work is finished, there is much to see; and it is up to the viewer to make sure that he/she does see it all. It is human nature to want to understand how things fit together. This is also the case when looking at a Benoît Hermans painting (for these built-up constructions behave like paintings). […] Perhaps I can prompt others to look at this mythical works in this way: to read and taste them with lingering eyes.’
In one of his recent works entitled Vom Geist der Liturgie a kneeling bishop is seen from behind, who is the spectator of someone performing some sort of ritual by sticking nails in a bottle. At the same time it seems like the bishop self is pierced by a gigantic praying mantis. The praying pose of the insect strengthens the sacred atmosphere of the voodoo-like setting. At the same time it’s open construction and the different dimensions of the characters involved in a mysterious ritual offers the viewer the abillity to interpret the image on their own way. In another recent work entitled Thrill Seeking Benoît Hermans shows the sculptural quality of the assembled painting. The image of Hercules derives from a painting by Rubens and instead of fighting the Nemean lion Hercules is portrayed with an actual stuffed bird. The wing of the stuffed bird reaches out of the canvas, which gives the work a three-dimensional character.
The work Das Ohr als Waffe consist of a blue pen drawing of the composer Richard Wagner, a photograph of an feminine eye, fur of a wild boar and a vague photograph of a Nazi flag. Adolf Hitler was a great admirer of Wagner’s music and saw in his operas the embodiment of his own vision of the German nation. The fur of the wild boar can be seen as a reference to the German mythological world as depicted in Wagner’s operas. Benoît Hermans stimulates us to reflect on the meaning of an image and a painting as an illusion. In his paintings he brings t ogether images that have nothing to do with eachother, so our thinking and our viewing habits are disrupted. Some of the assembled paintings have a strong narrative compound, while others remain open to several interpretations. Yet all the assembled paintings have in common that the destructive construction leads the way in opening up new lines of vision.
The work of Benoît Hermans has been exhibited in solo and group presentations at international venues, including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht; De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam. His works are represented in numerous collections, amongst others Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Rabobank Kunstcollectie, Utrecht; NOG Collectie, Utrecht; Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht.