Exhibition Dates: August 10, 2021 – November 10, 2021
Venue: Art Space Al Jimi, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE
UAE-based artist Christopher Joshua Benton presents “Worked (So and So and On and On and So On and So On),” an exhibition of his recent sculpture work, made during his time at the Cultural Foundation residency in Abu Dhabi.
The keymaker. The carpenter. The tailor. The upholsterer. Christopher works closely with various craftsmen and friends to create totems and textiles that speak to the everyday objects that one sees on the street in working-class areas like Madinat Zayed (Abu Dhabi) and Satwa (Dubai). Touching on ideas of Arte Povera, the readymade, and autoconstrucción, each work is the result of extensive dialogue, play, and a flaneur’s eye for beauty.
Found objects are the foundation of each artwork, as it bears witness to invisible systems of labor and forgotten senses of home in the rapidly-shifting Gulf landscape. Benton scavenges through the remains of shuttered business, climbs up abandoned towers and construction sites, and spends time with craftsmen to cull out stories and lost histories of people and places. Cumulatively, these gestures act as a celebration of craft and the creative act.
The exhibition is housed at Art Space in Al Jimi, a mall in Al Ain. This grounding adds a more layered context to questions of what’s consumed and what’s discarded, while also aligning with the artist’s belief in a more accessible art world where everyone can be an artist. Benton’s solo presentation is part of a two-person show with Brazilian artist Arthur de Olivera.
About the Artist:
Christopher Joshua Benton (b. 1988, US) is a UAE-based artist and advertising creative director working across photography, film, and installation art. Christopher works closely with communities and neighborhoods to instigate collaboration and share stories of power, labor, and hope. His practice explores how the working-class uses cultural innovation to stage resistance to postcolonial and neoliberal forces. Past work has been presented at museums and institutions across the Middle East, including Alserkal Avenue, the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, and Jameel Arts Centre. He is currently pursuing his MS in Art, Culture, and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the generous support of the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.