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Benedict Carpenter

Born in Great Malvern, United Kingdom in 1975
Lives and works in London

Selected exhibitions:
2004 ZOMBIE Galerie Patricia Ferdinand-Ude, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
2004 SCHWANENGESANG, The Centre of Attention at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt, Germany
2003 NEW WORK, Henry Peacock Gallery, London, UK
2002 NEW RELIGIOUS ART, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK
2001 SCULPTURE AND DRAWING: 1, Henry Peacock Gallery, London, UK
1999 GREEN, Mellow Birds, London, UK

2002 Pamphlet: VICE, Benedict Carpenter, Henry Peacock Press, London, UK
2001 Catalogue: JERWOOD SCULPTURE PRIZE, Richard Cork, Jerwood Foundation, London, UK
1999 Pamphlet: NATURAL DEPENDENCY, David Barrett, Jerwood Space, London, UK

Benedict Carpenter



Imagine the statement "WE ARE EVERYWHERE" painted on a wall.

The sentence is blank enough to carry a range of meanings. To the optimistic, it might offer a sense of hope; to the paranoid, it is further evidence that they are under attack; the reaction of most people will depend on variable factors, the weather, lunch, and sporting fixtures.

An artist can control the context in which his/her work appears (whose wall is painted). The artist normally assumes responsibility for the content and shape of their work (which words are painted). What the artist can't do is dictate how their work will be received (the sentence passed by the presiding judge).

The maker could be seen as the inverse of the viewer: on the one hand there is me, the artist, and on the other hand there is you, the audience whom I hope to impress; I can start a conversation, and you can respond - or not. But rather than take this as an antagonistic relationship, I prefer to be optimistic and turn it on its head. I think this makes us equal, and as equals, we should be able to collaborate equally.

All of my work is either implicitly or explicitly collaborative - it is like a game: rigorous and rewarding for me; enjoyable and provocative for you. But to have any meaning, both sides must be equally involved. I take responsibility for creating the structure; within the structure, you are free to move at will.

Now imagine we reversed these roles. Increasingly, I wish to create situations and games in which the audience makes propositions to which I respond. This model of collaboration will free me from being restricted to the opening gambit; thus, I will be granted greater freedom as an artist, albeit within the structures you dictate. It also means that 'we' isn't just 'me', and there's a chance of us ending up, if not 'everywhere', at least 'anywhere'.

Benedict Carpenter, 2005


Poppy by Benedict Carpenter

Piece exhibited in Venice: Poppy, dimensions variable, Spray painted stencilled graffito