Eli Benveniste

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In her sculptures, reliefs and drawings, Benveniste focuses on the human body. Her interest in human history forms the background of her work regarding the body. Since Benveniste is strongly inspired by art history and how the human being is described, her sculptures are based on these ancient modes of expression. However, by modeling time into movement, she adds new dimensions to the classical sculpture.

Benveniste’s studies into depicting the body have their origin in her experiences of the lack of perspective in Roman fresco painting. Likewise, Benveniste finds prehistoric cave paintings as a source of inspiration, and when working with pen on paper, she keeps the characteristic outline of prehistoric drawings in mind. On paper, she begins with an outline of a body in motion, and here, angles and postures come to light, which are later further explored in clay. In the modeling process, the figures’ positions transform from 2D to 3D and a sculpture with an extraordinary perspective comes to life. The motif of the sculpture’s movement has strong references to Giovanni Pisano and Giovanni L. Bernini’s sculptures. This inspiration shows itself clearly in the width and movement of the sculptural expression.

The desire to express time in a single movement is essential to Benveniste. Inspired by the universe of comic books, she studies the motif of movement and the exaggerated perspective in drawings, which she uses as the point of departure in her models. The sculptures achieve movement through the shifts in perspective, which transforms her into a kind of storytelling in which the body, figuratively or abstractly interpreted, is reminiscent of a life actually lived.

The relation to historical time reappears when the body’s concrete imprint in the clay turns into fossil-like rubber reliefs titled Performance in Clay. Strongly inspired by archaeological discoveries of bodies stored in the soil for centuries, Benveniste’s reliefs remind the viewer of our own time and evoke a historical consciousness in him.

The body’s powerful push into the clay, which is fixed to the material as a concrete imprint, is clarified and completed through more thoughtful and calculated movements. Time and its transience as the relief’s topics are naturally embedded in the character of the clay. In addition, the clay appropriates the same carnal character as the body that has placed its imprint into the material. The result is molded in black rubber.

Benveniste studies sculptural expression through several mediums and materials, and always through a thoughtful and focused work process with its starting point in physics.

Eli Benveniste (1961), who is an autodidactic sculptor, has created a strong impact on the Danish art scene with her sculptural works. In 1988, she made her debut at the Veksølund exhibition and became part of the artist group Koloristerne (“The Colorists”) in 1995.

From 2013, Eli Benveniste is represented at the renowned Galerie Birch in Copenhagen.