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BENJAMIN KAPLAN
Documentia

September 23 — November 26, 2022
Opening Reception October 7,  7 – 9pm
Artist Talk October 19, 3 – 4pm
The Kranzberg

*Walk-in gallery hours at the Kranzberg Arts Center are from 12pm to 4pm every Saturday. Private gallery visits can be made for all galleries by appointment with COVID-19 mitigation policies in place. To make an appointment, and for questions or concerns, please contact  [email protected] or (314) 533-0367 ext. 105

ARTIST STATMENT

Dementia is described in many ways. Forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, senility, mental decay. Words did not matter as I watched my grandfather decline over 10 years, my grandmother over five, and, subsequently, my father over the past four.

As family members and caretakers, we navigate shifts in personality, manage paranoia, and witness the way our loved ones’ brains crowd out new memories in favor of a continuous loop of past recollections. I watched my grandparents and then my father regress into their younger selves, believing everyone to be either family or enemy or both, communicating sense and emotion as vividly as when they were children

These moments always catch present-day loved ones by surprise. Perhaps best described as hallucinations, the seemingly coherent becomes compressed within the twisted confines of a declining mind.  

But is there refinement in that compression? Can beauty be harvested from the segments? Do these memories serve as a map, a document, an atlas to long-forgotten enchantments? Is it possible to imagine this disease, with its cruelty and corruption, as a chronicler of times long forgotten, an excavator of essential moments, a strange documentarian?  

Documentia is a series of digital collages inspired by and in direct response to these recollective narratives. A body of work created in celebration of the dementia mind, Documentia visualizes the compression, the overlap, the incongruous conversations between memory and sense that occur in that human container. This exhibit invites viewers to contemplate their own stories and sense memories to consider how they organize shards of experience into novel constructions.

Benjamin Kaplan, 2022


ARTIST BIO

Benjamin Kaplan is a St. Louis-based multidisciplinary artist who works in film, sound, light, installation, performance, and flat stuff on paper. His latest collaborative project is ‘That Fatal Gift of Beauty,’ a re-imagination and reconstruction of all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. ‘Currents’, his collaboration with sculptor Jill Downen is part of the permanent collection of the Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis and his dual-channel video installation ‘Living Like Kings’ was recently exhibited at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

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