Benjamin Huynh (born in France, 1996) is a multidisciplinary visual artist currently residing and working in Brussels, Belgium. Their artistic journey began in 2015 when they left their native region, Côte d’Azur, to pursue their artistic education in Toulouse and later at the Graphic Research School (ERG) in Brussels.
Initially drawn to performance art, Benjamin’s artistic exploration shifted towards painting, installation, and textile work upon arriving in Brussels. Notably, they delved into costume design for theatre productions, further expanding their creative horizons.
As a diverse and versatile artist, Benjamin’s practice encompasses painting, sculpture, installation, and textile work. Their work serves as a platform for research and exploration, delving into themes such as queer identity, selfie culture, upcycling, and space positivity.
Les Bacchanales du comité informel
– Brasserie Illegaal, Brussels (BE) (17th June 2023)
– High on Feels Fields, Brussels (BE) (09-10th June 2023)
Jean & Irène Ransy Prize
– Maison Losseau – Mons (Be) (from 24th of March to 23rd of April 2023)
Living contents #2
– Rile* – Brussels (Be) (29th of June 2022)
Erg, Brussels (Be) (23th May 2022)
The Perception of the infinite bodies
– Mains d’Oeuvres – Paris (Fr) (From 17th to 26th of March 2022)
Poèmes – Structure – Peintures
– See U – Brussels (Be) (From 20th to 27th of November 2021)
LABO DEMO FERMÉ 24/24 7/7
– Centre Wallonie Bruxelles – Paris (Fr)
(From 26th of March to 27th of April 2021)
– Online event (13th of May 2020)
B.R.A.V.E presents Benjamin Huynh
-B.R.A.V.E asbl – Brussels (Be)
(From 6th of october to 3rd of november 2022)
– Hôtel Sennecé – Mâcon (Fr)
Invited by Minuit Deux, in a partnership with Ursulines’s Museum of Mâcon
(From 17th of June to 24th of October 2021)
REFLECTION MAGAZINE – Online exhibition catalogue (The Perception of the infinite bodies)
Designed by Victoria Gour
LABO DÉMO 3 FERMÉ 24/24 7/7 – Exhibition catalogue made by the residents of CWB.
Book cover : Poetry compilation – Juin sur Avril by Elke de Rijcke – Editions Lanksine (Published: Octorbe 2021)
In a world seen through the prism of global ecology and interconnections, contemporary painting seems to live in an unstable manner. The emergence of Network Painting1 or Transitive Painting2, deconstructs its classical parameters. Therefore, in an age of multi-disciplinarity, painting must reconsider its status as a medium which has historically always been rooted in a vertical hierarchy. Painting’s omnipresence and even supremacy in art history, as the alpha and omega of art, demanded a distant viewer, in order to protect its sacrality. My work aims, then, to investigate painting’s potentiality in a horizontal and interconnected way of functioning.
Horizontality allows for the emergence of notions such as ‘Care’, ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Soft activism’ connected to contemporary queer politics.These operate in my work as fundamental concepts to survive in late-stage capitalism. Working with friends to generate photos as source material, does not force the models to strenuously hold a pose and the revalorisation of crafts responds to a need to be closer to the viewer. Painting becomes a tool to pass through its history, to bring it into today and its omnipresence of images. The motifs oscillate between Western historical myths and theatrical roles in popular culture, between 19th-century salon painting and the self-representation of 21st-century influencers. Traditional aesthetics and its discriminatory classification system are questioned, to overcome the repressive social order and gender assignments. The person being painted becomes an active part of the process and stands therefore in a horizontal relation to the person painting.
Furthermore, by looking at space in a positive3 way, I am resisting the classic forms of exhibition that make painting sacred and that traditionally put us at a distance. I reconsider space as a place of passage, rather than a place of fixed contemplation. Textile work, sculpture and installation are proving to be rich tools for creating space: objects escape the canvas and generate new modes of exhibition. In this way, figurative painting becomes the medium for disrupting the interplay of distance with objects, giving rise to installations where art and craft intersect. Museography is seen as a form of invitation.
Benjamin Huynh’s work finds itself woven from networks. Just as we exist through relationships – whether virtual or physical – through the grace of others, so too do they paintings, as they are the traces of moments shared by the artist and the people around them. Based on photographs of friends playing with costumes and poses, the works reveal a radical care for and by the other, who is not obliged to remain painfully still for hours. They operate in the tension between the lightness of freedom and the heaviness of responsibility, the tension of the act of painting itself, at the same time spontaneous and burdened by the medium and its history. Here is a painter who is not romantically confined to solitude, but joyfully rooted in relationships. It is precisely this quality of openness that is reflected in the installations of the work. The works are placed in a space and retain a certain flexibility, as if they were a carefully prepared improvisation, presenting themselves to an audience without imposing themselves on it. Very personal, this work (re)presents its queerness without reducing or flattening it, but rather by engaging with all its beautiful complexities.
Elias D’hollander (2022)