Actual Size is pleased to announce Made of Concrete, an exhibition by Sami Benhadj and Tarik Hayward. This is the Swiss artists’ first exhibition in Los Angeles. The series of 16 by 20 inch black and white photographs was created during the artists' year-long residency in the Swiss Alps. They used cranes and forklifts to construct monumental still life arrangements with large objects from the area surrounding their industrial warehouse studio in Monthey, Switzerland. Isolated against a backdrop of draped white cloth, assemblages including Jacuzzi tubs, cars, shipping containers and trees delicately float in elegant and precarious relationships.
The careful manipulation of environmental objects and methodical framework in the exhibited works draw from conventions of Dutch still life painting, New Topographic photography, and ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. The photographs simultaneously describe and dramatize the natural qualities of the found objects. They play with the viewer’s expectations of scale and gravity, creating a disorienting balance. The photographs equalize their subjects through formal documentation, but also lend a new preciousness to the ubiquitous discarded objects that often disappear into a landscape. Outside of the gallery, a sculptural form made from salvaged wood further investigates concepts of construction and balance.
For this exhibition, the artists produced a limited edition publication that explores how objects can be woven or linked together to form a connected whole. "Contextures" presents an indexical series of drawings depicting woodworking joints. In addition, a book entitled, Made of Concrete, which contains reproductions of the photographs on exhibit and critical essays by Samuel Dubosson and Yann Chateigné Tytelmann, will be also available.
The body of work in Made of Concrete was generated in collaboration with Körner Union and Guy Meldem.
Sami Benhadj (b.1977, Algers, Algeria) and Tarik Hayward (b.1979, Ibiza, Spain) received their bachelor’s degrees in video and photography from Lausanne University of Arts (ECAL) in 2003. Selected exhibitions include; Körner Union, Museum of European Photography, Paris, France; Accrochage, Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland; Ma Bûche, Lausanne University of Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland; Rock and pétrole, Les Complices, Zurich, Switzerland; and We do wie du, Kunstmuseum, Thun, Switzerland. They are recipients of the Swiss Artist Residency in New York, Most Beautiful Swiss Books Award, Swiss Federal Prize in Photography, Vfg Young Talents Award, Leenards Grant, and the 16th BFF Promotion Award. This exhibition is supported in part by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia foundation.