NoPlace, Oslo proudly presents:
MANIC SYMBOLIC PHOTOGRAPHY
08.03.13 – 10.03.13
Opening: Friday 08.03.13, 20.00 - 23.00
Opening hours 14-17, Saturdays and Sundays
Large scale digital prints mounted on aluminum; analog prints haphazardly cropped to fit cheap frames, then hung in clusters; a lightbox; photos printed with an automated printing service at Elkjøp, then picked up at the counter, ready-framed; a botched attempt at gluing his own print on foam core (the resulting bubbles pricked with a needle); black marker retouching, etc.
Ben Allal's depictions are poised somewhere in between a frank, dispassionate capture of what's there in front of him and a coy recycling of abject and romantic clichés: Erections, crosses, graves, shaved girls, needles, a clown mask, the word "aids" scribbled on a mirror, masturbation, pills and underwear with traces of feces - and every now and then a bird, or a sleeping child, a pair of shoes, a forest.
Even if Allal's montages span two decades, there seems to be no movement forward, change of subject matter or opening up to new influences, but only a repetitive pan back and forth between these same old motivic extremes - a ceaseless return to the same confrontational subjects and affectations: the same penis, the same medicine cabinet, the same ominous needles and tranquil bird-life. Stoically maintaining the coordinates that framed his introduction to photography, Allal slowly bleeds them of their spell.
His camera is a restless automaton, as is he - constantly negotiating the large, unwieldy and oppressive apparatus of photography. He is also a shiftless maniac, busy seeing, taking pictures, printing, cutting, framing, hanging, driving, dicking, crying, shitting, being Ben.