Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian presents a new body of painting work exploring magic, nightlife and doppelgangers. New original paintings and prints available now.
Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian is represented by Beatrice Galilee. For sales or other enquiries please contact:
London-based artist Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian, best known for her expansive practice including space exploration, the design of immersive experiences, founding The University of the Underground and her award- winning documentary films, has launched a new body of work exploring narrative painting and printmaking. A limited number of prints and originals will be made available for purchase.
In the series titled ‘RED GOLD’, Ben Hayoun-Stépanian uses painting to share the myths and legends of the characters for her forthcoming feature length film, Red Moon- which will be released in 2022. ‘Red Moon’ is a diasporic investigation of human settlement on the moon. Red Moon is currently in development and it has just been awarded a grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Films Programme with support from Sandbox Films programme. Through role-play, magic, and doppelgängers, the film RED MOON offers an experimental vision and template for future diasporas beyond Earth. How will human inhabitants of the moon understand origin, borders and nations?. In one painting, she explores the true story of Napoleon III who faced a native wizard infestation in the yoke of colonial oppression in Algeria in 1865, and as a result he called in upon the services of Europe’s magician, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin- known as Houdini and his colleagues, to deal with the problem. Other paintings deal with topics of parallel identities and diasporic displacement in a unique collaboration which sees Ben Hayoun- Stépanian works in collaboration with her doppelgangers in Algeria and Armenia over the collection of nightlife locations to allow for a manufacturing of moon utopias. Developing this theme further, Ben Hayoun- Stépanian explores sisterhood with photographer Laura Ben Hayoun, also her sister, through image conversations, discussing landscapes and locations their family members might have visited.
In the byzantine tradition of painting icons and encapsulating mystical energies into the image, Ben Hayoun- Stépanian uses paintings and drawings as connectors to new worlds she goes on bringing to realities in her productions. Fascinated by the craft of the illusion and filmmaking, painting is the starting point of her thought processes and experiments. For her to start engineering and planning situations such as NASA or the United Nations, Ben Hayoun-Stépanian draws ‘roadmaps’ by means of paintings. More recently, and while connecting to her routes and origins in Armenia and Algeria, she developed the series presented in this portfolio as a way to ‘think in action’, in the words of political theorist Hannah Arendt.
In framing the series in relation to her other creative practices, Ben Hayoun-Stépanian says: “An immersive experience is successful when you remember it, to me, it remains in the mind as a sequence of paintings. For me, painting is the beginning and middle of everything: tones and textures allow me to think in action, plan scripts while I am able to build in surreal worlds that will later inspire film or design productions- ones which portrays magic, nightlife, displaced identities and doppelgangers”.
With a training in textile design, she developed an interest for pigments and unique color palettes while in Japan, adapting her original compositions and patterns to the restrictive format of the 40cm by 10 meter long textile roll that is a kimono, prior to its sewing. Ben Hayoun-Stépanian counts among her mentors Japanese national treasure Takayuki Takahashi and Academy award winning director and 2001, Space Odyssey VFX director Douglas Trumbull.