Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guy Ben-Ner's Second Nature at Postmasters

April 2 - May 8, 2010GUY BEN-NER Second Nature
Employing animals, animal trainers and an on-camera film crew all speaking in rhyme Second Nature restages Aesop's fable The Fox and the Crow combined with Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

Can you tell a fable today? Is it not too arrogant to believe you can educate someone? On the other hand, if I believed art could not deliver any kind of lesson or critique of the world, I would stop making it. (Guy Ben-Ner)

In Second Nature Ben-Ner has created a video that emerges from Aesop's fable The Fox and the Crow. It is a video in three parts that blurs the boundaries between ' fact and fiction'. One part of the video is shot as a documentary about specialist animal trainers training a fox and a crow to re-enact the fable, but develops into a fictional re-telling of the fable itself by the animals, interjected with a re-enactment of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot by the animal trainers. The dialogue between human and animal is crucial, exploring subtle modifications in behaviour made through the interaction between the two, where one can never truly control the other.

In the repetitive and questionably futile action of trainee and trainer, Ben-Ner's video owes much to the plays of Beckett - the trainer trains the animals to re-enact the fable; Ben-Ner trains the trainer to act In the documentary and the play; and the animals train each other within the tale itself. He uses the same setting, a lonely tree, to tell two different stories - one a fable and one a play. Ben-Ner reveals the function of fables - the use of animals to tell human stories and instruct our own moral behaviour - and mimics their strategies to manipulate the animal trainers as the fable unfolds. Essentially the action is the same, repeated again and again. (Kyla McDonald - catalog for the Liverpool Biennial 2008.)

GUY BEN-NER Second Nature, 2008
Single channel video, color with sound,10:10 min
Animals Supplied by: Birds and Aminals UK
Fox Trainer: Guillaume Grange
Crow Trainer: Gwen Griffith
Fox: Bambi and Briar
Crow: Oreo and Nabisco
Film Production: Roger Appleton
Sound Recording: Alan Watson
Editing Facillities: CCA, Tel Aviv
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial International 08

Postmasters Gallery
459 west 19th street
New York, NY 10011

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