Video art, made in Ikea

In­ti­mate bed­room scenes shot us­ing show­room furniture? Ju­lia Weiner in­ves­ti­gates

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -


Gim­pel Fils, Lon­don W1

IS­RAELI VIDEO- and film-maker Guy Ben-Ner filmed his last movie on lo­ca­tion in an un­likely set — among the con­tem­po­rary furniture at Ikea, in three dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Ben Ner’s new ex­hi­bi­tion at Gim­pel Fils in­cludes the first show­ing in this coun­try of his latest work, Steal­ing Beauty. Ben-Ner re­calls: “It was shot in var­i­ous Ikea stores in Tel Aviv, New York and Ber­lin. They have th­ese show­rooms that look like sit­com sets, so we de­cided to shoot a sit­com there but didn’t ask per­mis­sion. We went into the store and started shoot­ing, and the minute they kicked us out, we had to go to a dif­fer­ent store. Since they all looked the same, it was OK.”

Scenes in the film in­clude in­ti­mate ex­changes be­tween the artist and his wife in bed, which sud­denly trans­form into a pub­lic space when shop­pers car­ry­ing Ikea shop­ping bags en­ter the frame.

Says Ben-Ner: “The long­est we stayed in one store was five hours, the short­est 10 sec­onds, and they were both in the same store. But it de­pended on how com­pli­cated what we were do­ing was. If I had to wear py­ja­mas or we were hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion in bed, then they no­ticed us im­me­di­ately.” Ben-Ner, who rep­re­sented Is­rael at the 2005 Venice Bi­en­nale, was born in Ra­mat Gan in 1969 and stud­ied at the Hamidrasha Art School from 1994-97. Most of his videos fea­ture his wife and two chil­dren in star­ring roles. He ex­plains why. “It started from ne­ces­sity. My daugh­ter was born when I was 24. If I’d wanted to pur­sue my prac­tice in the stu­dio, I wouldn’t have had time to be with my daugh­ter.”

He adds: “The films take the place of fam­ily al­bums as we don’t have photo al­bums.” Guy Ben-Ner’s Steal­ing Beauty is at Gim­pel Fils, 30 Davies Street, Lon­don W1K 4NB (020 7493 2488), un­til Novem­ber 17

Guy Ben-Ner, with his wife and fam­ily on lo­ca­tion at Ikea

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