|Goodrow, Gerard. ARTnews, "Ben Kinmont at Rolf Ricke", November 1992.|
Ben Kinmont is interested in interpersonal communication as a means of addressing the problems of contemporary society. His sculptures and actions attempt to establish a direct, personal relationship between the artist and the viewer, using the work of art as a mediator. For Kinmont, like Joseph Beuys before him, every individual is an artist, that is to say a creative and critical sculptor of ideas and actions. But whereas Beuys focused on a utopian transformation of society through the creativity of the individual, Kinmont is interested in the community. Mutual interdependence and cooperation among various individuals is for Kinmont the true source and goal of artistic production.
In the week before his recent exhibition, Kinmont distributed more than 6,000 flyers to passerby in some of the busiest streets around Cologne. Printed on these flyers were four statements by the artist describing his extended concept of the "social sculpture," whereby the viewer becomes an active participant in the creation of the work of art and actually contributes to its meaning.
On view in the gallery were a number of floor sculptures cast in Hydrocal and rubber. Imprinted in reverse on these simple geometric forms (rectangles, circles, and rings) were statements reflecting the relationship of the viewer to both the artist and the work of art: "I trust you/I take you," "I love you," "I need you." The dialogue between the individual sculptures reflected the complex interdependence of artist and viewer and their combined role in establishing meaning.
In his work Kinmont involves the viewer on a personal level where compassion and mutual understanding play a central role. In light of the current trend of complicated, erudite postmodern theory and hyper intellectualism, Kinmont's empathetic "social sculptures" are a welcome relief.
Gérard A. Goodrow