Tamy Ben-Tor

Ben-Tor’s funny, alarming videos and live performances are populated by fictional characters that make Sisyphean attempts to communicate certain truths (about history, about politics, about art) but instead find themselves failing and flailing in a sludgy mental space of the artist’s devising – a domain of idiocy. For these characters, saying the wrong thing, the very worst thing, is perhaps the only way to right the world.

 Showing at Cubitt, Ben-Tor’s best known work, the video `Women Talk About Adolf Hitler’ (2003) features a series of women, played by the artist, who offer up absurdist diatribes about the Nazi dictator, among them a New York Jewish academic who discloses the Führer’s struggles with bad digestion, a phobia of dentists, and ugly knees – an all-too-literal take on the banality of evil, seemingly intended to prove that the devil is indeed in the most prosaic of details. Screened alongside this piece is Ben-Tor’s new video `The End of Art’ (2006), in which she casts herself as what may be a hybrid of a certain all-too-familiar artist (or, as the critic Donald Kuspit would have it, `postartist’) and the political thinker Francis Fukuyama, as though to point out that relational aesthetics and liberal triumphalism share much of the same self-satisfied cultural and political DNA. Elsewhere in the gallery, a monitor shows three portrait videos – `Alejandra’ (2005), `The Contractor’ (2005) and `The Artist in Residence’ – in which loneliness, powerlessness and self-delusion work their cruel witchcraft on a trio of lost souls.


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