The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb


Film Mutations X: James Benning: Ash 01

Gorgona Hall / Extension, December 28, 2016, 18:00 - 21:00

It is our great pleasure to introduce the new works by an American artist of the politics of the landscape James Benning, a neo-avant-garde filmmaker-mathematican of the structural cinema, who after 40 years of 16mm film praxes has been developing strategies of displacement for digital and other art dispositives.


Extension 18:00

Ash 01 (2016, 20' 03'')

scorched earth (2016, 60' 40'')

two-channel video projection, loops

(open until December 31)

Vestibule 18:30

Franz Kafka Ensemble


music performance by Damir Prica Kafka, Franjo Glušac, Bruno Vorberger, Igor Pavlica, Roko Crnić, Ivan Marincel.

Gorgona Hall 19.00

measuring change(2016, 61' 12'')

installation for the cinema

In the artist's words: "Ash 01is a declassified recording made from a B-52 bomber on December 26, 1972 during the Christmas carpet bombing of Hanoi. scorched earth is a film that is part of the Untitled Fragments Project. It's 60 minutes at dusk, just one shot of the burned over forest (from this summer's fire) near my Two Cabins in the Sierra Nevada. measuring change is a companion digital video to my 16mm film, casting a glance. It was recorded on my 73rd birthday (December 28, 2015) at Rozel Point on the northern shore of Great Salt Lake. It looks at Spiral Jetty in the morning starting at 8:57am, and then in the afternoon starting at 3:12pm." (J.B.)

Benning's fascinating modes of displacement of long duration reflect currents of American historical avant-gardes, and his personal perseverance on the lines of flight in the territory of "scorched earth" makes him a singular artist of cinema and contemporary art. His "installation for the cinema" (Benning's term) entitled casting a glance (2007), in which he overlaps the simulated history of Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson with his own personal history, is a measuring system for the changes of his dispositives. The master work of artistic singuarity and disobedience is his rhizomatic project Two Cabins, a longtime détournement started with building replicas of Henry David Thoreau's Walden cabin (from July 2007 to January 2008) and Theodore Kaczynski's Montana cabin (from April 2008 to June 2008). James Benning's Two Cabins are situated 40 metres apart, near his mountain house surrounded by woods of the Sierra Nevada.

The installations for two spaces of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb were chosen by James Benning. It is also the world premiere of Ash 01 and scorched earth, while measuring change had its premiere last month at the Austrian Filmmuseum in Vienna. The programme has been made in the frameworks of Film-protufilm’s interdisciplinary seriesartists' dispositives for reflections on the strategies of the transmission of images, knowledge and memory of cinematic dispositives in the digital era, as part of the Film Mutations project, curated by Tanja Vrvilo.

The programme of James Benning is also a prologue to the 10th edition of Film Mutations: Festival of Invisible Cinema, which will take place from January 24 to January 31, 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Cinema Europe in Zagreb and Art-Cinema Croatia in Rijeka under the title VIOLENCE + UTOPIA (gewaltpia) with films by Abel Ferrara, Béla Tarr, Masao Adachi, Marc Hurtado, Motoharu Jonouchi, Katsu Kanai.

The programme has been realised in close partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art (a programme Artists' Cinema) and is supported by the Ministry of Culture RH, Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC) and Zagreb City Council for Education, Culture and Sport.

With courtesy of James Benning and the gallery neugerriemschneider.

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