Working in drawing, sculpture and, above all, video, Guy Ben-Ner takes the raw material for his video creations from his everyday reality and his home life. He enlists his family members, uses his apartment and its furniture as a set, and assumes a role himself in productions abounding in references to literature, film and art.
In Treehouse Kit, Ben-Ner offers a hilarious new reading of the myth of Robinson Crusoe and our ready-to-assemble society. The installation consists of two components: a modular, wood sculpture—the tree—and a video in which the artist himself plays Crusoe, complete with his symbolic attributes: a long beard and… blue-flowered Bermuda shorts! Parodying “how-to” videos and the illusion of “building” from a kit, our latter-day Crusoe dismantles the tree and cleverly puts it back together in the form of furniture: a rocking chair, a table, a parasol, a bed. The simultaneous presentation of the two parts (video and sculpture) takes us on a circular journey in which the furniture made from the tree is actually the material from which the tree was created, and so forth.
Instructive in tone, with a note of caricature and irony as well, this work also throws out a political and humanistic challenge: How should we rethink our relationship with nature and the impact we have on the environment ?
The exhibition also presents Moby Dick (2000), a video running 12 min 35 s, likewise inspired by a famous tale of adventure on the high sea, recreated in the artist’s kitchen with his family as performers.