Ben Benaouisse, "S.M.A.K.". Photo: Dirk Pauwels
GHENT.- Ben Benaouisse (b. 1971, Familleureux) is a dancer, performer, visual artist and especially difficult to place precisely under one of the abovementioned categories. In S.M.A.K. he presents the performance Jan Fabre revisited, a re-enactment of Fabre’s Bic-Art Room in 1981.
The Bic-Art Room by Fabre was a performance lasting 72 hours in which the artist had himself locked up in a white room lit by artificial lighting. Closed off from the outside world he was surrounded by white walls, a white ceiling and floor, white furniture, and white sheets on a white mattress. His only diversion was a blue Bic pen and the surrounding area served as a page. Words, sentences, scribbling, stripes, and slogans covered the space and killed time. A camera recorded the activities, boredom, hunger and sleep.
More than a quarter of a century later Ben Benaouisse re-enacts this performance in S.M.A.K.. Under exactly the same conditions – a white room, without daylight in which the artist is isolated for 72 hours with only a blue Bic ballpoint for diversion – the artist aims to re-experience Fabre’s experience. Although the sterile context provides him with no sensory stimulation Benaouisse regards this as a condition for exploring the limitations and possibilities of his creativity from scratch. The "drawing" is a way of killing time and the primary activity of an energetic being. Scribbling and writing are used as a survival strategy.
Performance Ben Benaouisse, "Jan Fabre Revisited", in S.M.A.K. Photo: Dirk Pauwels.