I have always considered the term 'weapon' to be a pretty unambiguous word. When someone talks about a weapon, I naturally think of threatening objects that are used to maim or kill: guns, knives, bombs, and in their more primal form, bludgeons, sticks, and stones. I was therefore quite surprised to find out what the Weapon exhibition was at the David Roberts Art Foundation was all about.
At first I expected art based on the Iraq War. Strike One. When I discovered the work was by a French artist called Benoît Maire, I thought it might be about the Algerian War of Independence. Strike Two. Finally, I guessed the exhibition could be looking at social issues such as knife crime. Strike three, I'm out.
So what is Weapon? I'll give you three guesses.
Are you out too?
Benoît Maire first solo exhibition in London is in fact all about measurement. Still confused? Read on. The conceptual artist says that he wears a weapon on his wrist that 'gives me time. In the bathroom, I stand on a weapon that says a weight. In my pocket, I have a multi-function weapon that gives me the next day's weather and today's price of gold and wakes me up when I need to.' In this sense, Maire seems to consider a weapon as merely a tool. Although, I'm not sure that I would use the term quite as widely as Maire does, I can see where he is coming from; after all, as any writer should know, the pen is mightier than the sword.
Perhaps this is where the idea came from, since he was inspired by Marcel Broodthaers, a Belgian poet who once embedded fifty of his unsold books in plaster. The poet was struggling in poverty as a writer, and the way he 'buried' his work, was almost an act of violence or defiance.
Benoît Maire's exhibition is on display between the 15th March - 11th May. On display you will see photographs, sculptures, and videos, which become an assemblage 'aesthetic terrorism' revolving around the theme of vision and measurement. The aim of his work is to ask his audience whether we are destroying our relationship with the world by measuring it so meticulously.