musée d'art contemporain
de Bordeaux


08.03.2018 -> 02.09.2018

Benoît Maire


Benoît Maire will present Thèbes, a major solo exhibition of his work, at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, from 8 March to 2 September 2018.



The exhibition, which features almost eighty works, heralds a new chapter for the French artist, whose creations, situated at the confluence of art and philosophy, stem from the plastic materialisation of his aesthetic theories. It brings into play from a new perspective the questions Benoît Maire has been pursuing since 2008 around the notion of differend, which he uses to underpin, through the eclectic harmony of collage, the points of disjuncture and areas of irresolution engendered by the encounter of objects and concepts, matter and thought. 

The exhibition, which assembles three series – Cloud Paintings, War Newspapers and Castles, – comprising new works ranging from paintings and sculptures to furniture, everyday objects and films, aims to tackle the ambient sense of disquiet and danger menacing a society weighed down by perpetual self-questioning. 

A recurring theme in this exhibition is the question of the origin of Man and the objects he produces or which surround him. It owes its title, Thèbes, to the Greek city renowned in mythology for its Sphinx, whose riddles held the terrified inhabitants hostage. The artist’s posit is based on an analogy between the city and the exhibition, both victims of a puzzle they are unable to resolve. The Cloud Paintings come from a series that Benoît Maire began in 2012, in which he draws a parallel between the space of painting and that of clouds – shifting, elusive and conducive to leaps of the imagination – in order to convey his ontological vision of painting itself. 

In his series War Newspapers – daily newspapers from the Second World War he purchases online and then frames, his only minimal incursion being to ring a single word on the front page – Benoît Maire analyses the lexicon of the conflict as it unfolds, and in so doing highlights consistencies or variants that enable him to compare manifestations of speech through the ages. The historical reality of the 1939-1945 war as described by the newspapers is therefore filtered by the lens of contemporary interpretation, which strives to produce a powerful, effective concept within the ongoing reality of a war as it is told, imagined and written, set against the backdrop of the current international climate, which allows political leaders who have experienced terrorist attacks on their soil to refer to a “state of war”.

For its part, Castles, which mainly associates typologies of diametrically opposed objects (natural/ready-made, archaic/technological etc.) in the form of small brass architectural constructions, emphasises the enigmatic quality of the objects that pervade Benoît Maire’s exhibitions, whether manufactured, artistic (created by the artist), practical (his furniture designs for Ker-Xavier) or natural (fossils, shells, etc.), their uncertain origin only matched by their disconcerting juxtaposition. The artist describes them as Sphinxes challenging us to reveal the actual nature of their existence, threatened, like Thebes, by ignorance.



The first signature monograph on Benoît Maire, designed by the London-based studio Åbäke, is being published to coincide with the exhibition at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. It covers nearly fifteen years of the artist’s career and includes critical reviews by Mieke Bal and Magali Nachtergael, together with a visual essay by Vincent Honoré and an interview conducted by Rahma Khazam.

With the support of the Galerie Nathalie Obadia and Meessen De Clercq, Bruxelles / Brussels



 Nature morte ou le préfixe conceptuel de l'art romantique

 Group exhibition at Centre d'art Chasse-Spleen, organised by Benoît Maire 

 07.03 – 30.10.2018

With works by : Nina Beier, Mark Geffriaud, Rolf Julius, Benoît Maire, Tania Pérez Córdova, Evariste Richer  




Since 2008 Benoît Maire has started writing a manual of aesthetics in which images, objects and writing take form to bring forth some of the main issues in contemporary aesthetics. Starting from the differend (insuperable conflict) between saying and seeing, Benoît Maire works in an in-between where art and philosophy merge into a practical use where forms spread out and surpass one another. Neither philosophy, nor art, the Aesthetics of Differends seek to corrupt classical formats by the experimental use of theory. Born in 1978 in Pessac, Benoît Maire is a graduate of the Villa Arson, Nice and of the Sorbonne, Paris 1 University. He produces exhibitions, publications, film projections and performances, and collaborates with artists but also philosophers and musicians.

Benoît Maire will take part in the Baltic Triennale Give Up the Ghost in May 2018. Winner of the 1% for arts award for the upcoming cultural hub MÉCA (Maison de l’économie créative et de la culture en Nouvelle-Aquitaine), which will soon be showcasing his outdoor bronze monumental sculpture depicting a half-head of Hermes.


-> ground floor galeries
-> Disabled access
-> Price: Entrée du musée, 7€ ; 4 € (tarif réduit)

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