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Erik Benjamins et al. at Marta


This year, many of us have doubled down on self-care and comfort: more sweatpants, weekly face-masks, or extended cuddle-time with our dogs. Timed nicely with our collective need for de-stressing, Erik Benjamins’ exhibition titled, “For Modern Resting,” highlights just that. Inspired by Japanese reflexology paths — stone mosaic walking paths installed in public areas — Benjamins’ “Reflexology Doormats” are doormat-sized and made of bumpy ceramic tiles. If you happen to be wearing a pair of socks — don’t be gross and be sure to wear a pair of socks! — you’ll be invited to walk across the platforms, in a soothing yet slightly rigorous experience of massaging your foot’s various pressure points. Each “mat” includes text scrawled on the side of its metal frame — “A bowl of nectarines,” “Boomboxed Playlists,” “Among Baltic ruins” — creating additive poems whose lines reorient themselves depending on the order they are read.

Benjamins has also been writing poetic odes inspired by illustrations of suns that he comes across in his everyday life (on a washed out bumper sticker, a logo on a soda can), and has airbrushed some of these lofty odes on the gallery walls. “Well weathered blissed out bus mascot,” one reads. Together, the texts seem to encourage open-ended reflection, and heightened awareness of the things around us. A collaborative edition the artist made with Shannon Finnegan — two other artist collaborations are included elsewhere — is a sunny yellow chair cushion that sits on the gallery’s bay window and reads, “I need softness. Rest here if you agree.” Don’t mind if I do.

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Photo: “For Modern Resting,” installation view, Marta. Photo: Erik Benjamins.