In Bento’s Sketchbook, John Berger presents a series of diaristic events, encounters, and observations alongside excerpts from Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics. Berger’s own drawings support and accompany the writing throughout this intimate text. At one point in the book, he asks the reader to study the faces of the new tyrants, or profiteers as he later calls them, arguing that the likenesses share character revealing traits. Berger merges the act of studying and drawing with the inclusion of his own drawing of a tyrant in the book. For Berger, drawing is comparable to the body’s natural processes, of positioning ourselves in the world, and of engaging the impulses of our imaginations.
While the conclusions Berger draws from his own sketching and his study of the faces of his self-proclaimed ‘tyrants’ are idiosyncratic, the exercise can be a fruitful one in other hands. In fact, multiplied to many different artists, the experimental study and sketching of these faces might produce many interesting portraits of those seeking to control our times.
Final Resting Place has invited participating artists to engage with Berger’s text and his call to study the faces of tyrants through drawing and other media. Tyrants will be opening on September 30th from 1-5pm. We are located at 3350 S Bell Ave, Chicago IL, 60608. Please see our Facebook for more details about this show: