What strikes me in the work of Christian, and today more than ever, is that it is a very delicate art that leads whoever that wants to be led to the “other stage.” As Dante held the hand of Virgil, Christian leads the spectator towards the unstable boards of his intimate theater – unstable but solid; and in this sublime mano a mano, he invites us towards a completely different but intimate and unique stage: that of ours. By surprise and by rupture.
Each time I have the chance to lose myself in the contemplation of one his canvases, I am captured by the blurred impression of a strange familiarity; I confusedly feel that it plays my part; the canvas becomes my own little theatre; nostalgic and secret; a scene in which the folds and the layers of my own mythology unfurl. I know nothing of what looking at Christian gives us, but nevertheless I find myself in it. I recognize myself in it. A strange reunion. Delicious as well as overwhelming. Worrisome too. This « worrisome strangeness. »
All the talent of Christian – he knows it as well – comes from this rare ability to highlight this other scene – part of it shady with our dark desires, the one that makes us what we are. He tirelessly brings us to our secret gardens hitherto neglected; he rekindles our renounced dreams, our muzzled or muted fantasies, to never completely forget ourselves.
We can believe, a bit hastily, that Christian Benoist is the painter of decay, of melancholy, event of death- there was a life here… I believe that he is none of them. Christian is the painter of our dreams never irremediably sacrificed, of our fantasies never completely suppressed: when all seem lost, there always remains one ultimate hope, one ultimate chance of life. And it is probably there, in that place, where the water plays its hand, its role, in total discretion. With this stubborn presence, the artist makes a promise: the promise that, despite of vicissitudes, all is still possible; our marvelous gardens will not desperately dry out.
With his work, Christian proves us something: that he did not renounce those that are in dreams, in fantasies, in marvelous gardens…
Jean François Capp,
Author and stage director.
Copyright 2018 Galerie Guernieri