Nowadays, telematics, mass media and computer networks appear to threaten the tangible aspect of reality. Ben Elliot is an artist who does not consider his work from a purely conceptual point of view, but as the result of a psychophysical process that raises a constant dialectic between the presence of matter and the immaterial entity’s exploration. Therefore, contradictions rise and the reflection on the intrinsic expressiveness of matter becomes inevitable.
The materials used by the artist are genuine and artificial. They do not imitate other materials and they do not have any history or genesis. Any question about their symbolic or ideological value would be superfluous. In the Foam on foam series, 2014; Elliot burns a blank foam sheet of paper on a second identical one. Combustion occurs through an incandescent rain of a blowtorch. This is under the shock from the flood that the material becomes matter: it conquers its foundation, its reason of being. The fiery drops generate a silver mackle spreading over the central part of the foam: the color is intrinsic to the material itself. While the sheet is burning, holes appear as the marks of an art that is both based on the exaltation and on the degradation of the material, until the disappearance of the medium.
Ben Elliot handles, ignites, enlivens the matter and plays with the contrasts: content and container, contraction and expansion, transparency and opacity. With Box in Box, 2014, the plastic box includes another same sized box, but made of glass. The qualities of the two materials are well placed in comparison. However, a work is never composed of materials only, there are also actions and tools to take on board because in this case, the process is as important as the result. In Transparent paper on transparent paper series, 2014, each piece is composed by one sheet of plexiglas (ranging between 10 x 15 cm to 17 x 26 cm) which has been burned to an other. The combustion progresses from chance to creative decision; this is actually the artist who decides when to stop the reaction, without allowing the burning of determining the aesthetic purpose. The artistic action is embodied in a spot of dark depth interrupted here and there by small holes. This is a black scar; the flesh of the medium, which is a victim and a witness of the artist’s path. This is a proof that something has preceded it, but we can not go back: the original element is only present in the artist’s memory and obvious injuries are the stigma of an immaterial persistence that reveals itself in the actual space of the work. Specifically, the rips refer to an absence in the dissolution of the medium: physical matter is transfigured in Light-matter, the border between tangible and intangible remains the memory of a world that is disappearing.
An essay on Box in Box, Dropped Plexiglas, and Transparent paper on transparent paper
S1+S2, 2015. 120 x 85 x 20 each. Thermoformed polycarbonate. Exhibition View.
Resin2, 2015. 60 x 70 x 20 cm. Thermoformed polycarbonate.
Transparent paper on transparent paper, 2014. 15 x 10 cm. Burnt transparent paper.
How I sold my first artwork, 2015. Shop here.
Cases, 2014. 24,4 x 57 x 5cm. Plexiglass, acetone, acid, water.
SWCGIC, 2016. 120 x 85 x 19 cm. Polycarbonate sheets, resin.
Box in Box, 2014. 50 x 40 x 6 cm. Plexiglass, glass.
Individual + Matter, 2015. 222 pages. Self-published.
Correspondances, 2014. 60 pages. Jaffar Jaiden Editions. Shop here.