PRESS

"Entering and exiting the gallery, one can hear another voice: the call of The Return, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay's striking audio installation, which casts the voice of a member of the Vienna Boys' Choir to impersonate an air raid siren. Whether charting our libidinal investment in pop songs or, as in his most recent work, invoking queer legacies and lineages, Nemerofsky Ramsay's work always returns to the emotive power of the voice and its relationship to identity, expression and ego. In The Return one boy's feminine, high-pitched voice - perhaps echoing the artist's own effeminate timbre at a remove of three decades - acts as an alarm call to warn us to our present state of emergency, drawing our attention to the urgency for new ways of thinking about ourselves as political subjects and of our duties as full citizens of the world." JON DAVIES, "Coming After: queer time, arriving too late and the spectre of the recent past" 2012

"Barthes, Nemerofsky, and other like-minded thinkers all recognize that human passion steers the world in ways most pragmatists and empiricists would never admit and could never describe." MARK CLINTBERG, "Of an Extreme Solitude: The Romantical Works of Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay" 2012

"Penetrating and reverbarating in the gallery space, this haunting, youthful voice touches a deeply human level that is generally at odds with the anonymity of the institution. With its association of war and distress, the air raid siren married with this melancholic voice evokes, in my mind, instances of harm - from seemingly insignificant slights to unspeakable atrocities - that we inflict upon one another, particularly those we have marked as different and other."  HEATHER ANDERSON, "Sounding Selves" 2012

"This iteration of [The Return] features a boy from the Vienna Boys' Choir who bellows a very smooth yet impossibly loud siren through a gold-leafed mouth a loudspeaker. Ramsay states "...queerness is not limited to designations of sexual identity, but applies to any number of gestures that call into question the stability of our beliefs, that mess with the icons of truth and correctness to which we attach ourselves." Here Ramsay's siren metaphorically brings the queer voice into an object mean to alarm, test and frighten the viewer into action." MIREILLE BOURGEOIS, C Magazine, 2012

"The most affective work falls to Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, whose latest video, Legacy, recontextualizes queerness, wisdom and spirituality through an enchanted quest by a masked young man as he cruises/gets cruised by a network of older and wiser gay men... Projected onto a floating portrait mirror, the work is a poignant reflection and mystical revelation about seeking out the history of queer wisdom, and more specifically, gay male spirituality... As one of those rare artists who provokes new thoughts while touching your heart, Nemerofsky Ramsay does not shy away from complicating how we understand sex and love through an ever-shifting framework of popular culture." AMY FUNG, Fuse Magazine, 2011

"For example, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay's 2002 Live to Tell uses 16 CCTV cameras as the "audience" for a private music-and-dance rendition of the eponymous Madonna song - with Nemerofsky's angelic harmonies and economic grace illustrating how pop can resonate on a personal level to provide transcendence of (or at least escape from) the routine of work and surveillance." SAELEN TWERDY, C Magazine, 2010

"Nemerofsky Ramsay faces the cameras with tenderness and defiance, subverting the normally hostile or unremarked presence of the surveillance camera so that it becomes a vehicle for personal disclosure and expression. The viewer is positioned as a voyeur to an intimate and private performance, becoming the witness needed by the character in the original song. HEATHER ANDERSON, "It Is What It Is: Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art", 2010

"Lyric is deceptively simple and exquisitely executed, and the apparent humour forms a critique of the power of the pop industry as an omnipresence that determines what emotions should sound and look like. The props and tropes of MTV are present through their absence, underlining the sheer nakedness and vulnerability of the filmed performance, despite its packaging in choir-boy perfect vocal skill. This critique of mass-produced love on the commercial production line simultaneously pays tribute to the very real feelings the song snippets evoke." JANE ROWLEY and LOUISE WOLTHERS, "Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive" 2009

"His work is smooth and buffed and polished, like something that came out of the candy factory at MTV, only there is a heartbreak he reserves for the camera. Lights, camera... and the action is always from the heart." MIKE HOOLBOOM, "Practical Dreamers: Conversations with Movie Artists", 2008

"By expressing your devotion to a particular musical style and wearing the right clothes, you either become part of a language that is globally understood, or, by contrast, you refuse to partake. The power of the pop industry lies in both the commercial viability of this principle and in its media omnipresence that determines what the living out of emotions should look like. Nemerofsky Ramsay manages to live out the dream of many teenagers: he becomes a pop star. In the process, he adopts an ambivalent attitude because his performance is so professionally executed that the line between parody and seriousness remains blurred." NICOLAUS SCHAFHAUSEN, "Bühne des Lebens: Rhetorik des Gefühls", 2006

"In Lyric, we share in the artist's manic remixing of his own new pop narrative, using sound bites collected from one thousand love songs. His iPod heartbreak is as enduring as it is potentially infinite, his performance an exquisite corpse of emotions, his Libretto a new poetry of loss where everything gets started but nothing ever finished." DEIRDRE LOGUE, "Queering Plunder" 2006

"Nemerofsky Ramsay's videos, in which he covers songs as far apart in time and style as an Elizabethan lyric by John Dowland and Madonna’s ‘Live to Tell’, have at their core a quietly passionate engagement with the contours and rhythms of a life lived in loving. As anyone knows who has ever been in love, there are occasions when those rhythms are inescapably discordant and the contours go bump in the night. Both I am a Boyband, his brilliant animation of Dowland’s madrigal and Lyric, his epic sampling of single lines of a thousand popular love songs, are ‘heartbreak narratives’ to use his own description" ROBERT ENRIGHT, "Heartbreaker: The Video Art of Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay", Bordercrossings, 2004

"Neverending Song of Love is an impeccable installation of works. A survey of performance-based videos, it is evidence of the discipline of an artist for whom control and madness seem bedmates….What makes (the exhibition) so successful is that the works hover between Nemerofsky Ramsay’s confession of the influence of pop-song love and his determination to critique it. It is a balance that we all suffer by degrees. Neverending Song of Love speaks to the tough and vulnerable – with perfect poise." RISA HOROWITZ, Canadian Art, 2004

"Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay combines the complexity of the digital image with the immediacy of performance in his karaoke-style videos Je Changerais D'Avis (2000) and Forever Young (2001). In each, the frame is divided into multiple sites, each of which interprets the tender words of the pop songs: a sign-language interpreter, translations running along the bottom of the screen, and sublime found footage of data streams and satellite weather reports. They compete for our attention, but the winner tends to be the small frame of Ramsay, singing sincerely and well. In Forever Young, trembling slightly in a sequined halter top, he cries real tears as the song ends: "Do you really want to live forever? Forever young." The bland popular-culture images, digitally recombined, generate a smooth surface, a tabula rasa, on which Ramsay writes with his own body and voice the promise of the new." LAURA U. MARKS, "Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media" 2002