Past Exhibitions

Sadie Benning: Pain Thing

Postponed

Installation view of Sadie Benning: Pain Thing at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Sadie Benning became well-known in the early 1990s for making brilliant low-tech videos—urgent and moving confessionals documenting their own teenaged sensibility. For most of the current decade, they’ve concentrated on gallery-based projects, often using found photographic imagery as the base material for works that ultimately combine elements of sculpture and painting into a unique hybrid. For 2020, Benning returns to the Wex with a new work of striking scale and ambition.

Pain Thing is a single installation consisting of 63 small wood panels grouped into 19 discrete and separately titled sequences that extend through three adjacent spaces. Acrylic paint and photo transparencies are layered on each panel, followed by coats of meticulously applied clear resin. The overall result complicates the relationship between flatness and dimensionality while raising questions of narrative and memory, specifically in relation to traumatic and collectively inherited events.

The Wexner Center is thrilled to premiere Pain Thing, which follows Benning’s 2017 installation at The University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society, Shared Eye, since acquired by The Museum of Modern Art. Benning’s work has been shown at the Wex since the early 1990s. The recipient of a 2003 Wexner Center Artist Residency Award, they presented Suspended Animation, their first-ever solo gallery exhibition, here in 2007.

Installation view of Sadie Benning: Pain Thing at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Installation view of Sadie Benning: Pain Thing at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Installation view of Sadie Benning: Pain Thing at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Installation view of Sadie Benning: Pain Thing at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Sadie Benning, IUD

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4a-4f (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4a

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4a (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4b

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4b (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4c

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4c (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4d

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4d (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4e

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4e (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning, IUD seq 4f

Sadie Benning
IUD seq 4f (detail from Pain Thing), 2019
Wood, photographic transparencies, aqua resin, and resin
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Austin

Sadie Benning: Pain Thing is organized by the Wexner Center and curated by Curator at Large Bill Horrigan.

SUPPORT FOR THE WEXNER CENTER
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation

ADDITIONAL EXHIBITION SUPPORT
Cardinal Health

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Past Exhibitions

Sadie Benning: Pain Thing