Trained in photography, Damien Bénéteau transposes the process of capturing light into sculpture. In his works the juxtaposition of objects, movement and light serves to produce two types of sculpture, molding the field of vision as well as his materials. Drawing on minimal sculpture, Op art and neo-opticalism, he borrows from these movements: geometric aesthetics, sobriety and the appearance of simplicity. Thus, his monochromatic mobiles display deliberate neutrality and a certain mechanical coolness, compensated by the strange depth of the surface and the structures’ elegance. Their swinging or oscillating, cyclical movement combines with internal LED assemblies to transform these sculptures, which are hermetically black, into veritable visual events in infinity of hues.

Seeking visual effects rather than illusions, Damien Bénéteau employs his own sculptural vocabulary, made of gaps, shadows, ellipses and halos, metamorphosing the way the spectator looks at his works. Sculpting light enables Damien Bénéteau to reveal hidden corners within spaces, to invert contrasts to bring new forms to life, add tints and colour gradients, or redefine reliefs and depths. The dark, matt black surface contrasts with the dense light of the white LEDs, producing retinal persistence and aura effects. Damien Bénéteau thereby performs the double operation, both revealing and fixing these intangible impressions which largely determine an object's visibility.

The hypnotic repetition and continuous play of 'revealed then hidden' lull spectators into a state of contemplation, leading them to meditate on the notion of time. By mimicking such magical objects as celestial bodies, pendulums and metronomes, these mobiles in perpetual motion subtly organise a passage from the historical present, suspended during the encounter with the work, to the present of astronomical time, evocative of the macrocosm. Damien Bénéteau’s thought-provoking sculptures softly point towards the inexorable passage of time and an awareness of its eternal return. Moreover, the sculptor boldly plays on the double meaning of 'gravity', apposing the law of physics with its affective interpretation, the momentum of nature with the solemnity which it imposes.

Florian Gaité, February 2015

 

« Variations »
The Variations series is based on the movement of a pendulum, whose rhythm is determined by the specific weight of each mass. An interdisciplinary theme, shared among mathematics, astronomy, biology and music, variation implies a gap, a way of being different which an animated sculpture can adopt to highlight its singularity. Furtively evoking the contours of a loudspeaker, a musical note or a metronome, these sculptures punctuate the music of time which ticks on and the echo of the beat of life.

FG, February 2015




 About "Variations in Variations" @ Fondation Vasarely 

For the past ten years, Damien Bénéteau has been developing a series of sculptures, Variations, which which make tangible the ordinarily imperceptible forces which govern our universe. Each consists of a mechanical, kinetic and optical device which allows the human perception to seize the flow of time and the cyclical structure of the universe. Launched in a pendulum movement, a ball crosses at regular intervals a pierced plate, perpendicular to its plane of oscillation. The minimalism of the volumes, the abstraction of the the coldness of the metal and the slowness of the rhythm form together a microcosm reduced to like a star reduced to its most elementary physical dimension. Each Variation reflects its play of light and shadow in the immediate environment and seeks to the eye towards a quasi meditative state. This work evolves today towards forms more immersive forms, more technical and of greater scale, with it affirms the influence of the kinetic art and of the op'art on his work. From the first, he retains the idea that movement is a medium in itself, generator of forms to whole shares, of the second, the idea that a play of optics is capable of redraw the world. For his project at the Vasarely Foundation, Damien Bénéteau takes up the form of the pendulum, thought out on the scale of a building, a the scale of a building, in the image of Foucault's pendulum in the Pantheon. Fixed to the ceiling, at a height of 11 meters the installation rests on the same principle as the Variations: a sphere in movement crosses an imposing a sphere in movement crosses an imposing plate of metal posed with the vertical one, cut in all its height and illuminated from its interior edge. Treated in the mass, it presents two surfaces leaned the other - one side matt, the other silver - even if the ball, of a black without brilliance, does not produce a mirror effect effect and leaves Vasarely's works intact around it. Unlike Foucault's pendulum Foucault's pendulum, its movement is not correlated with the rotation of the Earth. A magnetic device, autonomous, engages it in a manifestly infinite pendulum movement. The plasticity of the movement, its capacity to sculpt forms in the matter as in the perception, is manifested then with force, and in a certain nakedness. When it crosses the plate, the ball sees indeed its reliefs remodeled by the light, which animates its volume and makes its contours more prominent. Its movement makes its features appear, the kinetic sensation is transformed into visual perception. At their point of coincidence, the ball and the plate, aligned on the same axis vertically, draw even a composition falsely composition falsely flat, that a front viewer can furtively grasp as two-dimensional. The plastic becomes graphic, the sculpture becomes a painting or a drawing. In this installation, the interaction between movement, volume and light creates an environment environment marked by its depth, its mystery and a certain solemnity. The slow and regular oscillation of the mobile sculpture is inscribed in a temporal loop which calls upon the image of the metronome or of a chronometric measuring instrument. Without yielding to the ludic, nor to the spectacular, the installation gives to see in all its simplicity the common deployment of time and of space. It concentrates particularly the attention on the dilation of the duration, sensitizing as much to the time historically lived, in conscience, that to the time as physical and perceptivo-cognitive phenomenon. Variations in Variations ends up being read as a poetic interpretation of the gravity revealed in the "aîon", a suspended and stretched present which is replayed here with the infinity.

FG, December 2022-2023



VARIATIONS IN VARIATIONS (2022)
Installation
Exhibition @ Fondation Vasarely, 2022-2023 Aix en Provence, France
Aluminium,, source LED
H : 3.8 m L : 2.80 m P : 1 m




Variations in Variations 2022-2023; from Damien Beneteau



VARIATIONS IN SPACE (2019)
Installation
Exhibition @ SCOPE Paris, France
Aluminium,, source LED
H : 6 m L : 3 m P : 2 m



Variations in Space;2020" from Damien Beneteau



SPATIAL VARIATIONS (2012)
Floor sculpture
Anodised aluminium, stainless steel, LED light source
H : 254 cm L : 160 cm P : 40 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


   

Spatial variations "2012" from Damien Beneteau



Spatial variations "2012" from Damien Beneteau



SPHERICAL VARIATIONS (2018)
Sculpture on stand
Anodised aluminium, stainless steel, LED light source
H : 130 cm L : 70 cm P : 30 cm
Edition of seven with one artist’s proof


 

Spatial variations "2012" from Damien Beneteau



Spatial variations "2012" from Damien Beneteau



LENGTH VARIATIONS (2013)
Floor sculpture
Anodised aluminium, stainless steel, LED light source
H : 250 cm L : 60 cm P : 60 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof

LENGTH VARIATIONS (2013)
Sculpture on stand
H : 133 cm L : 30 cm P : 30 cm
Edition of seven with one artist's proof


 

Length Variations "2013" from Damien Beneteau



PARABOLIC VARIATIONS (2013)
Mural sculpture
Anodised aluminium, LED light source
H : 170 cm L : 100 cm P : 40 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 
 

Parabolic Variations "2013" from Damien Beneteau



CIRCULAR VARIATIONS (2013)
Mural sculpture
Anodised aluminium, stainless steel, LED light source
H : 141 cm L : 108 cm P : 25 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 

Circular Variations "2014" from Damien Beneteau



Exhibition; from Damien Beneteau



About:  Cosmogonie 
The installation Cosmogonie is displayed as an interior rotunda, borrowing its shapes from horological mechanisms as well as from the planetary mobile. As a metaphoric statement on the genesis of the world and the cycle of time, it presents strong formal convergences with minimalistic sculpture. Here, Damien Bénéteau reduces a representation of cosmos to the human scale and to its minimal signifier, materializing in situ his poetic vision of the Origin.

The static suspended layout of the central sculpture combines in an ethereal composition three astral spheres and several thin hanging plates, slightly curved and tilted, in the manner of a deconstructed planetarium, crossed over by mysterious metallic totems. The sculpture is surmounted by a ring, in which a needle – its tip equipped with a lamp – carries out a minute long revolution. The structure’s cold geometry, the depth of the matt black and the material’s shine shape a solemn, sober and dynamic composition whose volumes are constantly redrawn by the light. Induced by its reflection on the material’s surface, the play with texture variations is cadenced by the hypnotic regularity of the rotating arm, offering the opportunity of a serene and dreamy contemplation.

Responding to this general principal of roundness, Cosmogonie is surrounded by an inclined plane that allows students to stop there for a moment. Located in a passage way, a high school hallway, this meeting point invites passers-by to pause, to retire from the temporality of a school day in order to embrace, for one moment, the rhythm of an infinite loop, that of perpetual movement.

FG, mai 2016



COSMOGONIE (2016)
Installation
Permanent installation, 2017 Lycée léon Blum, Creteil, France
stainless steel, aluminium, lacquered stainless, source LED
H : 4 m L : 5.3 m P : 5.3 m




Cosmogonie "2016" from Damien Beneteau



About: « Pherolithe »
This series focuses on working with plane surfaces and breaks with the use of pendulums which previously dominated the sculptor's approach. By this time exploiting the movement of a convex ring supported by two fine stems, Damien Bénéteau sculpts an iris reproduced in three forms: spherical, ovoid and trumpet-

shaped, which he places almost in the centre of his parallelepipeds. The transformations produced by light, pushed to the limit until it is no longer possible to locate the actual source of the light, are accompanied by a subtle sound, amplified by resonance, conferring a strong presence on the works. The intriguing, massive bodies of each of these black steles are reminiscent of the mysterious totem in Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and oscillate between seductive power and troubling distancing.

FG, February 2015

SPHEROLITHE (2015)
Sculpture on stand
Anodised aluminium, LED light source
H : 135 cm L : 64 cm P : 20 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 

Sphérolithe "2014" from Damien Beneteau



Sphérolithe "2014" from Damien Beneteau



 

About: « Reliefs »
With his Reliefs, Damien Bénéteau tests a radical, formal device, returning to the roots of his approach. His black monochromes on sheet metal bring geometrical creates a dialogue among gradations of light, to confer a quality of plasticity in movement on his material. In the centre of each Relief is a barely visible disc, slightly concave or conversely convex and hardly distinguishable from the plane surface, establishing a minimal difference of perception at the heart of the material. Whereas in his earlier works the optical transformations were brought about by luminous devices and mechanics within the sculpture, Damien Bénéteau is relying here on the spectator's walking around the work to activate a dynamic view which reveals miniscule variations. By working the 'inframince', that is, barely perceptible esthetic events, these works set in motion the imagination and the sensoriality of the spectators who find themselves immersed in the sculptural and pictorial crevices forming before their eyes.

FG, April 2015




RELIEF01 (2015)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 140 cm L : 108 cm P : 4 cm
An edition of three with one artist's proof


 

RELIEF02 (2015)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 99 cm L : 82 cm P : 3 cm
Single original


 

RELIEF03 (2018)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 41 cm L : 31 cm P : 4 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 

RELIEF04 (2018)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 41 cm L : 31 cm P : 4 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 

RELIEF05 (2019)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 60 cm L : 50 cm P : 4 cm
Single original

Relief05; from Damien Beneteau



RELIEF07 (2020)
Mural sculpture
Anodised, bead-blasted aluminium
H : 29 cm L : 24 cm P : 4 cm
Single original

Relief07; from Damien Beneteau



PARTICLE (2018)
Floor Sculpture
Copper black patination
H : 102 cm L : 120 cm P : 100 cm
Edition of three with one artist's proof


 


Biography

Born in 1971, Damien Bénéteau lives in Ivry sur Seine. He graduated from a BTS in photography in 1993, and initially turned to architectural photography and then to fashion. He participated in several exhibitions in France and abroad. Since 2012, Damien Bénéteau transposes the process of capturing light into the sculptural genre. Borrowing his references from minimal sculpture as well as from op'art and neo-opticism, he retains their geometric aesthetic, sobriety and apparent simplicity. His monochromatic mobiles thus display a deliberate neutrality, a certain mechanical coldness. The cyclical movement that animates them produces real visual events, with infinite nuances. The hypnotic repetition and the continuous play of veiled-unveiled place the spectator in a contemplative state, conducive to a meditation on time.



Exhibitions

2012, Group exhibition at the "ToolsGalerie", Paris, France
2014, Solo exhibition at the "ToolsGalerie", Paris, France
2014, Pavillon des Arts et du Design, "ToolsGalerie", Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France
2015, Solo exhibition at the Galerie Mathias Coullaud, Paris, France
2015-2016, solo exhibition « MAD Gallery » , Geneva, Switzerland
2016, Solo exhibition « MAD Gallery » , Taipei, Taiwan
2017, solo exhibition « MAD Gallery » , Dubaï, United Arab Emirates
2017, Group exhibition « DeLight festival » , Berlin, Germany
2017, Permanent installation "Cosmogonie" lycée Léon Blum, Créteil, France
2018, Group exhibition « MAD Gallery » , Geneva, Switzerland
2018, Group exhibition « MAD Gallery » , Dubaï, United Arab Emirates
2019, Group exhibition at Le pavillon Carré de Baudouin, Paris, France
2019, Group exhibition Tank Shanghai, China
2020, Solo exhibition at SCOPE, Paris, France
2020, Group exhibition «Morrison Gallery», Kent, USA
2021, Group exhibition LAPS Verdun, France
2021, Group exhibition Chateau de la Gaude, France
2022, Group exhibition at Galerie Eko Sato, Paris
2022, Exhibition for Cartier at Watches and Wonders, Genava, Switzerland
2022, Group exhibition at Vasarely Studio,Annet sur Marne, France
2022, Group exhibition at The overview effect, Lisboa, Portugal
2022, Solo exhibition at Fondation Vasarely, Aix en Provence, France

Contact :
Damien Bénéteau
beneteaudamien@gmail.com

Instagram

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