Middle East & Africa

Guy Ben-Ner
Wild Boy

Wild Boy  is the story of the education of Amir, the artist’s son. Ben-Ner plays the educator’s part, trying to domesticate the child. Using the metaphor of the wild child is Ben-Ner’s homage to this recurring theme in literature and cinema: from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ « Tarzan » to Truffaut’s « L’enfant sauvage », and Rudyard Kipling’s « Jungle book ». The video is an attempt at capturing this decisive moment when the child lets go of its wilderness to become « civilized », and raises the nature/culture dichotomy, dear to the Enlightenment philosophers.

In his films, Guy Ben-Ner plays with the history of cinema, referring to the experimental origins of silent film, to comic figures such as Keaton and Chaplin, and to Truffaut's French New Wave. Since 1996, the artist has been concentrating on his family members and stages them with burlesque humor. Just as Buster Keaton, he is at once actor-director, his wife and children the only other actors, and his apartment the improvised set: he uses available furniture and objects, creates an artificial island in his kitchen and constructs a tree house for Treehouse Kit (2005), a work in which the sculpture takes part in the video installation. The theatrical aspect of the set relates to the playful situations. Each one of Ben-Ner's films participates, as an episode, to a collection of fables about human nature, reenacting stereotypical motifs found in literature and cinema, such as the desert island ("Berkeleys Island" 1999) or "Moby Dick" (2000). Guy Ben-Ner was born in 1969, Ramat Gan, Israel. He lives and works in Tel Aviv.