Artist, theorist and curator, Maurice Benayoun (MoBen,莫奔)is a pioneering and prominent figure in the field of New Media Art. MoBen’s work freely explores the boundaries of media, encompassing video and virtual reality, perfume and sculpture, interactive art and large-scale public installation. MoBen’s work has been widely awarded and exhibited in many major international museums including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the museums of contemporary art in Lyon, Montreal, Seoul and Helsinki, Eyebeam and Museum of the Moving Image in New York, the Machida Museum, the ICC Tokyo, not to mention the permanent exhibition inside the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.
From the Tunnel under the Atlantic(VR installation 1995) to NeORIZONand major works like World Skin, a Photo Safari in the Land of War (Golden Nica, Ars Electronica 1998) and the Mechanics of emotions, MoBen’s work tries to exceed technology, exploring new ways of creating meaning through experiencing intense metaphorical situations.
After his first exhibitions in Asia, ICC Tokyo 1999, he started developing the concept of “Critical Fusion” as a way to interrogate all fields of human activities at the artistic, economic and political level. Moben’s first exhibitions in China was in 2005 while he simultaneously exhibited the first part of the Mechanics of Emotionsgrand œuvre, converting symbolically the 700 sqm of 18 on the Bund gallery in Shanghai - into a luxury shop with e-Market, Emotional Market, and presenting a giant installation in the Shanghai Science Museum with Cosmopolisinstallation which attracted more than 10 000 people per day. This exhibition, one of the major events of the French Year, toured around China and was the opening exhibition of the 3 Gorges Museum in ChongQing, before being presented in Chengdu and Beijing. In 2008, NeORIZONwas a large-scale street installation on Century Avenue, Shanghai for eArts Festival. This experience in Asia was the origin of important mutations in MoBen’s work and largely it motivated his decision to move to Hong Kong in 2012. On September 2014, MoBen co-curated with Jeffrey Shaw the Fleeting Light Large Scale interactive art exhibition including the first artist’s work of the ICC Tower giant urban media screen by Jim Campbell. As an extension of this Urban Media Art curatorial experience, Benayoun started the Open Sky Project, on the 70 000 sqm media façade of the ICC Tower, the highest in Hong Kong, inviting artists and MFA students to present their work on Hong Kong Harbour front. Most recent works include The Brain Factory, a conceptual interactive installation combining brain computer interaction, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.
MoBen’s work has won more than 20 international awards, including the Villa Medicis Hors les Murs, more than four Ars Electronica awards (including the coveted Golden Nica), Siggraph, Imagina, SACD and 4 International Monitor Awards. In 2014, MoBen was nominated for the Prix Ars Electronica Visionary Pioneer of Media Art award.
MoBen is currently a Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong and Chair of Graduate Studies Committee and PhD program coordinator.
Maurice Benayoun, MoBen OPEN ART, Nlles Editions Scala, 2011 (monograph with 20 international contributors)
The-Dump, 207 Hypotheses for Committing Art, ed. FYP, 2011 (English-French)