James Benning

James Benning: Ruhr

“A master framer of landscapes.” Jonathan Rosenbaum

“Benning’s long-standing fascination with place and steadfast commitment to exacting formal organization have increasingly served an understated, indeed largely implicit, environmental politics.” Scott MacDonald

U.S. premiere
Jack H. Skirball Series

2009, 121 min., HD

James Benning, one of the most fascinating figures in American independent cinema, makes his eagerly awaited entrance into the digital realm with absolutely stunning effect. Ruhr—which is also the first film Benning has shot entirely outside the United States—is a meditation on the notion of terra incognita. Faced with the unfamiliar landscape of Germany’s Ruhr Valley, the cradle of heavy industry in that country, and a new medium, he turns the film into a process of slow discovery. As Benning uses HD to continue his exploration of duration in seven masterfully composed shots, minute events and nuances of changing light suggest a complex balance between permanence and mutation in the Ruhr’s industrial landscapes, marked, not least, with the ubiquitous presence of immigrant labor.

In person: James Benning

Curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud.

Advanced Curators' Notes

Read 'Digital Watch' in Artforum 

Funded in part with generous support from Wendy Keys and Donald Pels.

Associated Images: 

MON 1/11
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff