Rien Ne Va Plus
Last weekend the Arty Farty Gallery in Cologne opened Rien Ne Va Plus by Ben The.
French libertine and graphic designer Benjamin Thé from the south-eastern French town of Annecy studied at the renown art academy HEAD (Haute École d’Art et de Design) in Geneva, Switzerland. Some are familiar with Ben the Carhartt skate team rider – others have worn Carhartt t-shirts with his designs or ridden Antiz Skateboards bearing his graphics.
Ben has cruised the streets by board ever since he was a kid. The everyday life he finds there feeds him inspiration. And wherever he goes, he leaves behind a trail of posters and murals. His quirky, comical figures that adorn walls and doors throughout the city are often overlooked by passersby – a fact that Ben consciously integrates into his art. He breaks with conventional viewing patterns, prompting the keen-eyed public to engage in an interchange of ideas with him.
When Ben puts brush to canvas, he does so according to the motto: “nothing is as it seems” and “disillusion is everywhere.” His pictures are incongruous and burlesque ad absurdum, yet they deliver a distinct punchline. His playful use of absurd elements, however, disguises the fact that Ben is socially critical. Instead of sponsoring some vague ideology, Ben’s work addresses real-life social, cultural and economic grievances.