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curriculum vitae

Benjamin Bergery is a Franco-American media artist based in Paris, who returned to media art nine years ago, after a twenty-year hiatus.

Benjamin grew up in Paris and New York, and notably worked as a magician in his mother's small New York city circus at the age of 11.

Benjamin has a BA in the History of Ideas from Saint John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a MS in Media Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and went on to teach video courses at MIT for six years.

Benjamin's early video art earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California & Massachusetts Arts Councils. His video work, like Young August & Time Code Suites, was screened in video art venues and on PBS. With Jan Crocker, he shot early music videos of British bands, including The Cure, in Boston. Benjamin's early interactive pieces include Elastic Movies in 1984, and Interactive Bed in 1987 which was shown in the Hague, and at the AFI Video Festival.

After 1987, Benjamin turned away from media art to focus on filmmaking. He studied with some of Hollywood’s leading cinematographers and wrote a book on cinema lighting entitled Reflections. He made a series of short films, taught cinematography at USC in Los Angeles and worked in the film industry at Lucas Film, and then at length for Panavision.

Benjamin returned to media art twenty years later in 2006, inspired by the themes and tools of his artist friend Jim Campbell, and in particular by Jim's masterpiece, Last Day in the Beginning of March.

He and Jim have collaborated on several pieces beginning with Annunciation, Sotto Voce for Paris' Nuit Blanche, and Jacob’s Tree for the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco.

Benjamin is interested in putting art in sacred spaces. His installation work seeks to renew the Renaissance tradition of church art, creating contemporary biblical frescos that use digital textures, and light installations informed by cinematic techniques.

Benjamin’s subjects have included religious themes like Epiphany and Confession, as well as an homage to philosopher Marshall McLuhan, and video “tableaux vivants” like Baptism and Floaters. Benjamin’s media work has blended audio, low-resolution images, video, light installations and performances.

Benjamin has exhibited his work regularly in the vast church of Saint Sulpice since 2006. Saint Sulpice is a Parisian landmark known for its Delacroix frescos.

In 2011, Benjamin had a solo show entitled Epiphanies at the Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago.
In 2011, he collaborated with Luc Martinez to produce 2 audio homages to Marshall McLuhan for Luc Courchesne's immersive piece Mcuhan Massage Parlor for Nuit Blanche, Toronto.
In 2013, he completed a commission for a complex light-based performance piece about the Passion of Christ, Tenebrae et Lux, for the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.
In 2014, he collaborated with Jim Campbell on Chorus Lux, a large-scale lighting installation in Saint Sulpice for Paris' Nuit Blanche event.

Nine years into his renewed career as a media artist, Benjamin plans to continue exploring media with light and video installations alternating religious and secular themes.

Excerpt from a review of Benjamin Bergery's Epiphanies show at the Loyola Museum of Art by Sigalit Zetouni for Chicago Life magazine:


Church On Time

Since 2005, Paris-based new media artist Benjamin Bergery has been creating installation art that is designed for churches. Bergery taught at MIT during the 1980s, and later at USC. With his friend, artist Jim Campbell, Bergery collaborated on a series of media installations, exhibited in the vast historic church of Saint Sulpice, a 17th century landmark in Paris. Bergery and Campbell installed new aesthetic forms in the structure famous for extraordinary Delacroix murals, the grounds where Charles Baudelaire had been baptized and Victor Hugo was married.

Two of the works exhibited at the church of Saint Sulpice are currently on view in Chicago. From December 4 through January 16, Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) is exhibiting Benjamin Bergery: Epiphanies.

The media installation by Benjamin Bergery, along with technology by Jim Campbell, consists of two works based on Gospel stories of the birth of Christ.

Light Annunciation employs light rhythms to evoke the angel’s announcing to the Virgin Mary that she is going to give birth to the son of God.

Epiphany employs looping low-resolution films to show the story of the Magi bringing their gifts to honor the baby Jesus.

The Epiphanies installation is inspired by the Renaissance tradition of storytelling frescos using digital textures informed by a cinematic vocabulary and lighting. The elusiveness of low-resolution images and abstract light stirs the liturgical subject matter, challenging the viewer’s interpretation and conveying the mysteries of the Gospel.