« Je représente »
Text of the press release of the exhibition « Je représente », Galerie Olivier Robert, Paris, FR
Following the display of his most recent works at the Open Studios of the Rijskakademie in Amsterdam where he is currently a Resident, it is at Olivier Robert’s gallery, who follows him since his debut, that Julien Beneyton will put his paintings the duration of an exhibition. It will coincide with his first personal exhibition in a French public institution at the Maison des Arts de Malakoff ( January 15 – March 27, 2011 ).
Fascinated by hip hop culture, Julien Beneyton puts all the energy which he draws from this cultural and musical movement in the service of his creation, taking on the representative’s position to deliver his overview/low-down of the current world. It is no accident if the exhibition is entitled » I represent « , symbolic term borrowed from hip-hop texts and a term which adapts perfectly to the essence of his work as a painter. Indeed, Julien Beneyton insists that his paintings are not politically engaged, denouncing social injustice or even less moralizing. The transcription of reality is at the center of his approach, the one that he sees, the one that touches him, for better or for worse, it does not matter.
An almost complete panorama of his talent will be presented in ten recent pieces, large and small sized, paintings on panels, on paper, landscapes, portraits, street scenes. His figurative style evolves, becomes refined and less caricatural, more precise to serve his concern for realism, spontaneity and sincerity. Whether in the genre scenes or the portraits, the attitudes of the people depicted and the atmosphere that comes out of his paintings give the viewer the impression they have lived them or witnessed them before. Eventhough the multitude of realistic details is characteristic of Julien Beneyton’s style, it’s above all the quintessence of a personality or the interest of a situation that stands out from his compositions. In search of new solutions capable of developing his painting, Julien Beneyton dares to apply his technique to 3-dimensional works when the opportunity lends itself to it. My Ghettoblaster, displayed here or the homeless person (50 cent) presented at Malakoff, are treated as extractions of his paintings.
Julien Beneyton’s sensibility pushes him to paint individuals and situations that depict those who have had a hard time, those to whom life didn’t do any favours. But he does not lock himself into a pessimistic logic, far from it. His boundless curiosity for different cultures and his careful attention to his surroundings means that he also has a taste for the energetic, tense or romantic, everyday stages of life, whether they take place in New York (NYC Breakers Union Square), in Morocco (Oujda, the hanging linen) or on a beach of Mauritania (Mauritania, Fishing).
Julien Beneyton so testifies, in a descriptive, realistic and representational way the surprising variety of society and gives his vision without concession but depicted above all with a profound humanity and a tangible humility.