Chisenhale Gallery exhibits the work of Benoît Piéron from 15 September to 12 November 2023.
Benoît Piéron’s work explores life, death, immunity and the boundaries of the body. Piéron experienced illness throughout his childhood and adult life. He was born with meningitis, which left him hemiplegic. As part of his treatment for leukaemia, he spends a big part of his childhood at the hospital. In recent years, he returned to the hospital to treat cancer, which had caused him to suffer from myopathy. He is also a survivor of HIV.
Piéron, however, seeks to produce alternative expressions of illness where it is reframed as a potentiality. Reliving the trauma of his childhood led him to become aware of the intimate link between his artistic work and his life experiences, encouraging him to transform his guilt into what prominent feminist scholar Donna Haraway has called his “compostable energy”.
Piéron reappropriates materials and moments from hospitals in order to construct a world free from the binaries through which illness is typically understood. He practices patchwork, existential gardening and designs wallpapers. He cites British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman as an inspiration; like Piéron, Jarman practised and wrote extensively on gardening. Jarman is known for his creation and maintenance of his former home, Prospect Cottage, in Dungeness.
For his Chisenhale commission, Piéron will produce a new body of work that explores illness and hallucination as spaces of potential and abundance.
Piéron’s first artist publication will be developed alongside the commission.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like Artist Ed Gray: Painting a Tapestry of the East End.
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