The Portrait Room. Portrait#5: Benoît Pype

Benoît Pype

Benoît Pype handles the minuscule, collects the useless, and acclaims the waste.


Benoît Pype is a 28 years old French artist. Exhibited in several galleries and contemporary art centers in Paris and abroad, he had a solo show at Palais de Tokyo – Module in 2012, titled “Fabrique du résiduel”. I discovered his work recently, on the occasion of Lyon Biennial 2013: in fact, he is one of the artists participating to “Présents inachevés”, an exhibition organized by Palais de Tokyo in Euronews’ future building, close to the well known center for contemporary art La Sucrière. Within the frame of Modules- Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Hors les Murs, the show (on view till November 3rd , 2013) introduced four emergent artists: Oliver Beer, Julian Charrière, Jeremy Shaw and Benoît Pype, indeed.
The exhibited works, Désert de verre (2013, Aide individuelle à la création de la DRAC Île-de-France) and Moulages de chutes libres (2013) reveal a peculiar aesthetic attention to form and hide a scientific approach, which amazed me while visiting his studio at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Pype’s atelier appears like a disorienting cabinet de curiosités-like laboratory, a sort of workshop of other times. Which one may consider as a factory of useless and microscopic, where the process of giving sense – more than giving birth – is disorderly installed.
A huge amount of details are reconsidered, observed, eventually presented on minuscule pedestals. I am here thinking about Sculptures de fond de poche (2011), but Pype’s attention to tiny, delicate objects can be observed in his artistic production in toto. We tend to pay more attention to handy small and fragile things, which are nearest to the human dimensions, but still not that visible – he believes.
His universe is made of bizarre researches, careful tests and small creatures. The imperceptible millions of microorganisms inhabiting a small drop of water (Socle pour une goutte d’eau, 2010), amazonian insects and colored pocket dust: everything passes through his loops, glasses and eyes and is then presented in an especially-conceived habitat, where visitors are asked to be involved in a slower conception of time. Concomitantly to some experiences as curator, Benoît uses to adapt his production to each exhibition he is participating in, in order to let it evolve. He likes the idea that his works can possibly change and free themselves from the risk of a static interpretation or representation. That is why the environment deeply influences his artistic perception and feeds his sensitivity.
He carefully considers the universe and the cell, the whole landscape and the particular detail.
The evolution that their interaction may generate, also.
Benoît stages an extremely odd microcosm: surely pleasant to enjoy, frequently described as beautiful, poetic, calm and inviting to reflection. To me, behind its appearance of cheap but trendy jewel, every work of this French artist represents an uncomfortable confrontation with emptiness, change and crystallization.

Useful links I went through to get ready for this interview:

Benoît Pype’s website:
Benoît Pype’s interview for La fabrique du résiduel at Palais de Tokyo on Youtube:
Critical texts about his works, from the artist’s personal documentation.

Sunday 13/10/2013, 18 °C, Benoît Pype’s studio at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

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  1. June 10, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    […] camera. The title suggests he might have emptied his pockets regularly, but from the sounds of an interesting article by Michela Alessandrini about him “Benoît Pype handles the minuscule, collects the useless, […]

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by Michela Alessandrini
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