Ben Taranto’s art is driven by his interests in our 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 the Earth sciences, balancing the physical with the transcendental, while 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 explore how our senses assist us to perceive, relate and respond to our constructed habitats.
Taranto recognises his practice as existing within the Anthropocene or Human Era – the present era (unofficially named) in which we modern humans improperly care for the land, oceans and waterways. He draws hesitant inspiration from our impact on local climates, the alteration of the land, the movement of large amounts of earth, the clearing of whole forests, the drying up of entire river systems, and the rapid disappearance of biodiversity from oceans, seas and rivers globally.
“I acknowledge that I live and benefit from working on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation - the traditional custodians of the land. I acknowledge that it was stolen, and that sovereignty was never ceded. I recognise their strong connection to community, to lands and waterways. I pay my respects to their culture, and to their Elders past, present and becoming.I also acknowledge that the planet as a living system is in a full state of emergency in regard to severe climate disruption and a severe loss of biodiversity. I recognise that is a direct result of human activities such as deforestation, major land alterations, overfishing, overharvesting and the burning of fossil fuels. The need to act now is urgent and necessary!”
Based in Melbourne, Australia since 2010. Taranto co-curated a large art event called 28 Beasts at an empty residential property in Brunswick East in 2018. He 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). He was shortlisted for a $750K major public sculpture commission in 2014 and had temporary public sculpture in the Docklands precinct in 2009 and 2010. In 2013, 2014 and 2016, Taranto exhibited moving image work 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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