Ben Hagari
Tel Aviv and New York City

Artist's Statement

My films and video installations are tragicomedies that unfold in absurdist environments. Frequently, a protagonist performs quotidian acts within a highly constructed situation that implicitly raise questions about identity and territory. In my films, environment and inhabitant are mutually constitutive; domestic spaces function both as prison and refuge. My work dissolves the distinction between theatrical façade and backstage by opening onto spaces where magic, subterfuge, and poetry collide. A defamiliarizing effect is created through conceptual and material mimesis: make-up, props, and sets are manipulated to construct an artificial yet internally consistent system of representation. These idiosyncratic worlds are formed through mimicry and repetition, much like a child learning to speak.

Ben Hagari (b.1981) lives and works in New York and Tel Aviv. His solo and group exhibitions include: The Rose Art Museum, MA (2016); The Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2016); SculptureCenter, NY (2015); The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2014); Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (2012); and KIT Dusseldorf (2011). His films have been screened at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Ballroom Marfa, TX and Anthology Film Archives, NY among others. Hagari’s awards include The Chami Fruchter Video Prize Prize (2015); Foundation For Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, NY (2014); The David Berg Foundation fellowship, NY (2013-14); Rolfs Partner Award KIT, Dusseldorf (2012); and Emerging Artist Prize, Israel Ministry of Culture (2011). Residencies include: LMCC Process Space at Governors Island, NY (2015), The Bronner Residency, Kunststiftung NRW and Goethe Institute, Germany (2009). He received his BFA from Hamidrasha School of Art (2008) and his MFA from Columbia University, NY (2014).

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