End of History Part 1, 2023
Q. Where does evil live?
In the mind, in the soul?
A. Maybe it lives in the flesh?
– Body Parts (1991)
‘End of History (part 1)’ is a video work performed as therapeutic horror filmmaking, an exploration of methodology for traversing societal trauma and extreme psychological states. ‘End of History (part 1)’ is likewise a horror film, a visual spectacle of hazy memories and present anxieties – and an absurdly long trailer for a film - a trailer that spoils the end.
The work is framed through a hauntological lens, both aesthetically and theoretically. It references a wide range of 80s and 90s horror films and specifically trailers for those films - films that were massively consumed by the ‘haunted generation.’ In this work fragmented reenactments and derivative dialogues and visualities of the horror genre find their place in a reimagined context. Incorporating familiar metaphors and mythical horror tropes Benois’ work explores horror’s uncanny ability to embody the lurking fears evoked by evolving social, cultural, and political changes.
In ‘End of history (part 1)’ evil enters the body through Benois’ hand, appearing as an Orthodox cross protruding from his flesh. Referencing Evil Dead (1981), the first horror movie the artist had seen in his childhood, the present day anxieties collide with the haunting memories and narratives of the past. Benois' work examines the parasitic nature of nostalgia, drawing a connection between the nostalgic longing for
the romanticized soviet past and the brutal results of such longing - seen in the full-scale war as a result of the russian invasion of Ukraine. The parasites of nostalgia immediately enter the bloodstream of its host, and the infected hand ultimately needs to be severed from the body to prevent the evil from spreading any
further. ‘End of History (part 1)’ attempts to dismantle Andrej Tarkovsky's ‘Nostalghia’ (1983), abolishing both the director's destructive conceptualization of nostalgia, as well as the idol status of russian saints, as Tarkovsky himself has been canonized in such a manner. The video work ends with an explicit sequence
depicting the death of ‘Nostalghia.’’