10 Year Anniversary Q&A | Christina Benz

CHRISTINA BENZ.  Lucky Devils, 2012, single-channel version, Edition of 5, video on monitor, single-channel version (same titled work exists also in a 3-channel version), HD, 1‘04“ loop, sound Kurt Schlegel

 

How long have you shown with The Cynthia Corbett & can you tell a little bit about your practice?
We met exactly 10 years ago at my degree show at Central Saint Martins, in June 2004, where I showed the pending series, three independent video installations, each piece
presented in their individual format. The works are visual statements that engage with the nature of today’s society.

What inspired you to become an artist?
I already had a professional career when I decided to drop it for art school. Please don’t ask what the devil drove me to it – I had this urge, packed my things and went to London.

How has the gallery helped your career?
Cynthia started to apply successfully for solo presentations of my work at art fairs straight after my degree show, I’ve had great exposure in London, Madrid, Turin, New York…

How has your work changed over the last 10 Years and how has the Gallery supported you?
I have been extensively working with video installations throughout. To have large
installations presented at its best, requires quite a lot of space. Cynthia made it possible and she always gave me every creative freedom, trusting me and my work.

What’s your most memorable exhibition you have taken part in with Cynthia Corbett Gallery?
The most memorable show was Arco Madrid, the day started with a bomb exploding next to the exhibition hall (aimed at the Spanish king who was going to visit Arco ‘05). The art fair started with a bit of delay, shortly after the opening my first video was sold.
Cynthia took the opportunity to present other artworks alongside my solo presentation. For the following show in Turin, we agreed on a small storage space for pieces by other artists which were not part of the exhibition. The space was very narrow but Cynthia made the best out of it and started to hang pictures in this space 1x2meters – and she managed to drag visitors into that space, including herself (1x2meters, this is not a joke, I just checked the plans!). Once, she disappeared for about half an hour with a visitor in that storage, I imagined what I would say when a visitor asked if the gallery owner is around – “Wait, I just get her out of the closet” would have been my answer. I was laughing my head off and so was Cynthia – this is what I really like about her, she’s got a great sense of humour!

Again in Turin, Cynthia was taking care of a visitor who was rather drunk and let the man sit down on a seat to have a rest at the exhibition stand. In this moment, Tate’s Director, Sir Nicholas Serota, walked down the corridor, Cynthia introduced herself while guiding him straight to our booth. While Sir Nicholas Serota watched ‘numbered’, the drunk man kept pushing against the wall so the whole video was constantly shaking like in an earthquake. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a happy ending to this, I haven’t seen Sir Nicholas Serota back since…

Describe Cynthia Corbett in three words!
Passionate, determined, humorous.

Who in the art world is your biggest inspiration?
Samuel Beckett was an important source at the beginning. Other than that, I always have a list of artworks I particularly admire, e.g. “Constellation” by Chu Yun or “The Visitors” by Ragnar Kjartansson.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I’m still working on this one!

What are your plans for the future?
Love, peace and happiness – check out my video ‘lucky devils’ for aims.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
A designer, a researcher, a photographer, a filmmaker, an animator, a technician, a lecturer, a curator, an organiser, a manager, an art critic, a promoter, a confectioner, a creative director – maybe this made me become an artist, to be a bit of all of it, free of restraints (and penniless).

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