Painted With HIV Positive Blood
Author: Eliška Portužáková
Thursday 4th of September 2014 05:36:32 PM

The American artist of Czech origin Bartoň Lidice Beneš got his middle name in memory of Lidice, a Czech town that was destroyed by the Nazis shortly before he was born.

When his friends and partner started dying of AIDS and Beneš himself tested HIV positive, HIV and AIDS became leitmotiv of his work.
A water pistol, perfume atomizer and a set of hollow darts are just few pieces from his huge collection of "Lethal Weapons", a series of objects filled with the artist's own infected blood. Although this collection was shown at the North Dakota Museum of Art without any accident, before he was permitted to exhibit it in Sweden he had to heat all the instalations to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in a hospital oven first, to make it safe for public viewing.
Lethal Weapons aren't the most shocking of Beneš' works: pieces that he made from the ashes of people who died of AIDS shocked the public even more. Beneš wasn't a big fan of red AIDS ribbons, he thought that it's more important to do something that just symbolizes some fight. Red ribbons he satirized in his piece as ribbons covered with crematorian ashes.

Ashes, blood and pills that were left after his friends had died of AIDS are not the only controversial materials that Beneš used - when he got his first grant he took all the money in cash. When he came home he talked to himself: "I used to be poor, what I can do with so much money?!" So what did he do? He cut all the bank notes and made them into art pieces. And this crazy idea paid off - he earned more than was the original value of the destroyed bank notes.


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