Here’s a review of cinematographer-turned-painter Benoît Delhomme’s new show at Daniel Cooney Fine Art.
Benoît Delhomme is responsible for some serious work. The cinematographer has worked on everything from The Theory of Everything to The Scent of Green Papaya. His surreal and elegant approach has won accolades and praise over the course of a lengthy career. Finally, Delhomme has shifted into a new space, literally: occupying Daniel Cooney Fine Art in Chelsea, it is his first first solo show, “My Hollywood,” a body of 23 acrylic paintings inspired by the Paris-based artist’s years on the studio set. They are visuals, they are remarks, they’re of observational quality, but not without controversy and a question of Delhomme’s reception of acting as a craft.
It seems as if Delhomme is at odds with the art of acting. Probably not; Delhomme must have an endlessly dry sense of humor and a desire to poke fun at his own industry if he’s willing to execute a work that features a small actress announcing she’s an actress. The circular nature of the dialogue is clever because it’s so dry; the drama transcends the scenes, Delhomme observes actors as if they’re doing the most important work in the world while simultaneously attempting to draw attention away from themselves, a backhanded compliment that ultimately leaves them looking the best. False interest in the economics of the film, endless praise to the director, “DON’T MAKE ME CRY FOR REAL”, and the moments of ecstasy- “LET’S FORGET THE SCRIPT” or “CAN WE STOP THE SCENE.” It seems as if they are moments of overwhelming drama celebrated or ridiculed.
But to the sensitive mind, Delhomme is doing nothing but offering a big put-down on anyone who’s enthusiastic about acting, like getting called out for being too obsessed rather than committed. Maybe there is a pithiness on both sides, a need to toughen up. If anything is for certain, actors willfully relinquish power, they want to be opposable, to please anyone, whatever it takes.
Delhomme’s approach is visually satisfying- his works are flat and quickly executed in an interest to communicate that certain urgency that occupies the filmset. Using glamorous tones and visuals that accent the words (deep red accents, “OUR MOVIE IS BLEEDING MONEY”; black, as if film noir, “THE DREAM FACTORY”). The works aren’t spare, but they’re cautious with color and texture, nothing is particularly finished, a great contrast to Delhomme’s film.
Benoît Delhomme “My Hollwood” is on view until May 6, 2017 at Daniel Cooney Fine Art
508 – 526 West 26th Street, #9C
New York, NY 10001