Benoît Maire’s New Paris Exhibition Aims to Find the Humanity in Objects—See Them Here

    The show includes three distinct bodies of work, all tied together by the artist's philosophical studies.

    "Benoît Maire: Un cheval, des silex" at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, 2018. Photo: Bertrand Huet/ tutti image.

    Seeing human characteristics in an ordinary object is more than just a trippy sensation; it’s a legitimate psychological experience called pareidolia and common instances of it range from the Man in the Moon to hidden messages in Beatles songs. For one artist, however, the experience is more than just an accidental phenomenon—it’s a tool.

    The French-born artist Benoît Maire uses pareidolia as a loose starting point for his “Peintures de nuages”  (“Cloud Paintings”), which are on view in his first solo show at the Paris outpost of Galerie Nathalie Obadia. The seemingly nebulous colors on the canvases, when viewed as a sort of Rorschach Inkblot Test, begin to morph into mountain peaks in dense fog or the vaporous contrails streaming behind a plane’s engine.

    Benoît Maire’s Sphinx (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Similarly, two other bodies of work on display at the exhibition carry that theme through, playing on the mind’s assumptions. In the “Sphinx” works, artifacts from the natural world are fused with man-made objects to form strange hybrids suspended from gossamer strands of wire. Many of these works meld a piece of crystal you might find in a New Age store with a common seashell. Meanwhile, the “Châteaux” works, as their name suggests, are rooted to the floor and composed of similarly disparate objects and materials. A press release describes the pieces as “simultaneously concrete and conceptual assemblages,” physical manifestations of pareidolia that can be viewed as “quasi-anthropomorphic” beings.

    See more works from Benoît Maire’s “Un cheval, des silex” exhibition in Paris below.

    Two of Benoît Maire’s Château (2018) included in the show. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Peinture de nuages (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Sphinx (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Peinture de nuages (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Exhibition view, “Un cheval, des silex” at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, 2018. Photo: Bertrand Huet/ tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Sphinx (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Exhibition view, “Un cheval, des silex” at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, 2018. Photo: Bertrand Huet/ tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Imagination de la chasse (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

    Benoît Maire’s Peinture de nuages (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels. Photo: Bertrand Huet/tutti image.

     

    “Benoît Maire: Un cheval, des silex” is on view through July 21, at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Cloître Saint-Merri, Paris.


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