25 November - 11 December 2005
Charif Benhelima’s artistic discipline is photography, and his strategy is to plumb its limitations. His artistic practise is inspired by his own biography and family background: in his photographic work he focuses on what it means to be ‚a foreigner’, and investigates in notions of ‚home’ in a world of ongoing globalization and at the same time, of a phenomenon as is the „Fortress Europe“.
Charif Benhelima has been working for some time on the series Semitics, one piece of which he will show in Studio 3. The work consists of a panel composed of 135 Polaroids organized in two layers.
Mixing reproductions of portraits and live portraits of Jews, Arabs, Sephardic Jews and himself on a panel, Benhelima built up a personal document, an ‘anti-archive’ of non labeled images of conflicted identities which contradictorily are meant to be confounded. To increase the disorientation and underline his statement, Benhelima added light to the portraits which instead of enhancing and shining people’s look, fades away the details of their visages. For Benhelima, this effect is related to the complexity of the identities which sometimes end up to disappear and also to blur the memory of people from our childhood - as the artist’s own mother - or made up images of family members he does not remember or never saw - as Benhelima’s father and his side of the family.