Juan Andrés Milanés Benito
Don’t write it on ice
I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
Characterized by a social and political commentary, Juan Andrés Milanés Benito’s exhibition Don’t write it on ice in the Overlyssalen starts from the problematic assumption that virtual pollution is a minor issue in the face of the intense environmental crisis.
Our contemporary culture writes its own history in the ether of digital messages and disintegrates with remarkable ease in a relentless consumption dynamic of useless information. Unlike this temporary writing, the Mesha Stele artifact – a large black stone with engraved inscriptions from over 800 years Before the Common Era – is one of the most extensive records for understanding the history of ancient societies.
Milanés Benito approaches art as an instrument for knowledge and for analyzing the relationship between humankind and the world. His silicon-cast sculptures in plastic and epoxy refer to the human behavior of copying and imitating our surroundings, in pursuit of being part of a social environment. Inviting the public to question reality, each sculpture works as a simulacrum as well as enhancing the symbolic notions of the object it copies.
In the exhibition, each sculpture is the result of a personal recounting responding to the nuclear family, work environment, and relations of power. Milanés Benito invited several people to describe in a recording session an episode of their lives that affected them physically, emotionally, or psychologically. Each anecdote can be played as a recording from the sculptures themselves – engraved in order to work as a record player – in addition to having been pressed onto a limited edition of records.
Juan Andrés Milanés Benito (b. 1978, Isla de La Juventud – Cuba) holds an education from the Escuela de Arte Wifredo Lam including a year of exchange at the Academy of Fine Art in Trondheim, and pursued his MFA the Oslo National Academy of the Art (2009). Currently based in Oslo, he is represented by Galleri Riis and his work is part of the Stavanger Art Museum (Norway). Selected solo exhibitions include presentations at the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo (Norway), Neues Kunstforum in Cologne (Germany), De Fabriek, Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Örebro Kinsthall, Örebro (Sweden), Galeria Marta Machado, Isla de la Juventud (Cuba); as well as group presentations at the 13th Bienal de La Habana – The Construction of the Possible (2019), Dak’Art Biennale The Red Hour (2018), and Supermarket – Stockholm Independent Art Fair (2013) – amongst others.