Paul Benney’s multimedia solo exhibition; ‘Speaking in Tongues’ is currently being exhibited at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale, in the church of San Gallo, just a few steps from St Mark’s Square. This exhibition of Paul Benney’s ‘Speaking in Tongues’ is curated by James Putnam and Flora Fairbairn in association with Anima-Mundi.


In this work, Benney brings together twelve of his contemporaries to individually express a spiritual awakening—a state of grace. He seeks to demonstrate that a singular piece of art can promote an understanding between disparate ideologies and engagement in a shared spiritual dialogue. ‘Speaking in Tongues’ resonates powerfully with the underlying theme of the 57th Venice Biennale, which the Chief Curator, Christine Macel, has titled ‘Viva Arte Viva’, and its emphasis on reflection, spirituality, and humanism.

Upon entering the space the visitor encounters a discordant murmuring of tangled voices reminiscent of prayer or confession. These are the layered voices of the sitters of the title painting. As the visitor moves around the installation the murmuring is interrupted; through the use of holosonic sound focusing technology, by the clearly discernible monologue of each subject; the effect being as though the individual voices are uncannily experienced as aural hallucinations. The visitor’s experience is one of initial confusion leading to a sense of empathetic enlightenment.

The ‘Reliquary’ series, consisting of two triptychs, appears alongside ‘Speaking In Tongues’ and form an important part of this installation. They re-emphasize the spiritual metaphor of the flame as a representation of the human spirit.

For sales and information please contact Nick Quinby at nick@benneystudios.com or Joseph Clarke at josephclarke@anima-mundi.co.uk