“I acknowledge that I live and benefit from working on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung people of the Kulin Nation - the true custodians of the land. I acknowledge that this is stolen land, and that its sovereignty was never ceded. I recognise the First Peoples of so-called Australia as having a strong connection to community, land, and waterways. I pay my respects to their thriving culture, and to their Elder's past, present, and becoming.“
For over a decade now Ben Taranto’s practice has been driven by his interest (and grief) at the accelerated engineering and fabrication of the planet’s environments. His sculpture and installation practice is embedded in environmental, political, and social activism. His practice is a conversation between art and geosciences, asking the viewer to consider the human condition in relation to built, natural, and virtual environments.
In conversation with Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Land Art/Earth Works, he uses sculpture and installations of steel, concrete, glass, and moving image, to respond to human activity above and below the land and waterways, in an attempt to understand how we perceive, relate, and connect to our constructed habitats.
Taranto recognises his practice as existing within the Anthropocene and Colonial/Capitalist eras. A time where modern humans improperly care for people and country - the land, oceans, and waterways. He draws hesitant inspiration from our monumental impacts on local species, climates, and ecosystems. He acknowledges our heavy alteration of the land, our endless accumulation of waste, the shifting of large amounts of earth, the clearing of whole forests, the drying up of entire river systems, and the rapid disappearance of species from oceans, seas, and rivers globally.
Based in Naarm/Melbourne, in so-called Australia since 2008, Taranto most recently worked with students and teachers at Staughton College, Melton on an art and activism project (2020/2021). In 2019 he co-curated a large art event called 28 Beasts with Jake Treacy at an empty residential property in Brunswick East. He has exhibited with the Moreland Public Arts Festival (2015, 2017), The Town Hall Gallery Hawthorn (2016), Frankston Art Centre (2016), c3 Contemporary Artspace (2016), Counihan Gallery (2013 – 2017), Craft Victoria (2014), Seventh (2013) and BUS Projects (2011). In 2014, he was shortlisted for a $750K major public sculpture commission and had temporary public sculpture in the Docklands area in both 2009 and 2010. In 2013, 2014, and 2016, Taranto exhibited moving image projections in the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. He has completed artist residencies in Majorca, Spain (2012), Suva, Fiji (2015), East Coburg, Vic (2016), Zanzibar, Africa (2017), and Xiamen, China (2018). Taranto graduated from The Victorian College of the Arts in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
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