Interview with Helen Benigson
Helen Benigson is a British artist whose work takes the form of performance, video installation, light-boxes, printmaking, text and a series of collaborations. Benigson takes the performance name ‘Princess Belsize Dollar’ in which she embodies the alter-ego of a rapper and singer. Benigson addresses art with an aesthetic and conceptual approach that identifies with the body’s anatomy and biology via cyberspace. Her concerns with such themes are produced within psychedelic imagery, saturated in color to produce a kaleidoscopic digital vortex. With a great emphasis on visually alluring and erotic imagery, combined with feminine and often political themes, Benigson’s art creates a magical feast for the eyes and mind. Benigson dissolves the physical boundaries between the real world and the cyber world whilst simultaneously merging the activity of producer, performer and spectator.
In addition to an impressive educational background, with an MA and BA from the Slade School of Fine Art and an Art Foundation from Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Benigson has received countless awards and also participated in many residencies. In addition her work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including a solo show at the James Hockey and Foyer Galleries, Farnham and the Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town. She also performed at Frieze Art Fair and was included in an exhibition at Flat Time House, ROLLO Contemporary Art and at the Ace Gallery, Los Angeles. Currently, Benigson is included in the acclaimed video exhibition Videonale.14 at the Kunst Museum, Bonn, Germany.
Benigson has been featured in British Vogue Magazine and was commissioned to make customized chairs for the Adidas head office in London. Benigson has recently re-launced her new website, that is intended to appear as an art piece in itself, combining her areas of interest via a series of layers that overlap visual, conceptual and audio properties.
To what extent has the fashion world culture influenced your art?
I love fashion and am constantly looking at trends and market patterns to inspire my art. I love going to different stores around the world and drawing inspiration for new work, as well as looking at prints and patters in clothing and accessories.
Do you plan to incorporate current affairs and politics in future projects?
It is always important for me to include current streams of politics and contemporary issues in my practice and to transform my ideas about these into something visual – to make a statement about the world through text, images and sound. I am really interested in global warming and the impact of human beings on the welfare of the planet and nature. I am also really interested in women’s issues and rights on a global level.
Would your interest in video ever lead you to movie making?
I would love to make a longer moving image work that could be seen in cinemas. I think the boundaries between video art and mainstream cinema are super fascinating.
Do you see yourself creating more alter-ego’s?
I have just filmed a new music video for Princess Belsize Dollar and am really loving rapping and performing at the moment, so I don’t think I will be making another alter-ego any time soon !
Who are your idols/ people you most admire and why?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by many successful, powerful, inspiration women: from my mother who is a constant source of light and love, to my wonderful aunts and amazing friends. I am also inspired by the artist Irma Stern, who was a painter living in South Africa and who’s house still remains as a museum.
What’s your favourite iphone app and why?
I am really enjoying the “Videonale.14” app, which is the app for the exhibition I am currently in, at the Kunst Museum, Germany. One can download this free app, and enjoy the exhibition from anywhere in the world – by looking at each artwork included in the exhibition, as well as artists’ interviews and images. You can also vote for your favorite artwork for The Audience Award.
My other favourite app at the moment is Instagram, because I love sharing photos instantly and I love looking at what other people are posting too!
*Images sourced from Google Images
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