Charif Benhelima

Regeneration

2024

950,00

Acrylic on polaroid 600 color instant film, with hand-painted passe-partout in artist frame

Frame 43,1 cm x 35,3 cm / Polaroid 11 x 9 cm

Sequence of 10 unique images

In stock

This series is presented by artlead

Pick up at / ships in 5 to 10 business days from Brussels (BE)

about this work

For the Kortrijk Triennale, Charif Benhelima created this photo sequence, where a series of photos are combined into one whole action. Benhelima took Polaroids of the same plant and reinterpreted it anew each time. By manually painting over the Polaroid, this image changes each time. Although the images strongly resemble each other, they are all completely unique.

The image sequence can be included in Benhelima’s long-running Ubiquitas series. In this series, exotic plants—‘foreign species’ that do not naturally occur in Belgium—are partially painted over. By painting over these images, Benhelima deliberately blurs the photographic context, making the images unrecognizable and interchangeable like fading memories.

In his Ubiquitas research, Benhelima confronts his own contradictory identities that have been part of his self-image since childhood. These are two ambivalent worlds that, after a long struggle, are finally beginning to tolerate each other.

about Charif Benhelima

Charif Benhelima’s photography explores themes of origin, identity, representation, and perception, often focusing on the feeling of being an outsider. His work reflects his personal background as the son of a Moroccan father and a Belgian mother. After his father’s deportation and his mother’s untimely death, Benhelima was placed in a children’s home and later fostered by various families in the rural countryside.

Benhelima’s work is organized into series. His first series, Welcome to Belgium, documents people on the margins of society: asylum seekers, illegal immigrants, homeless children, and an addicted mother in cities like Charleroi, Brussels, and Antwerp. These are classic black-and-white documentary photos shot in 35mm. Another series, Harlem on my mind: I was, I am, features Polaroid street views and portraits mainly from Harlem’s African-American community, whose experiences with racism and discrimination prompted Benhelima to confront his own identity.

Benhelima advanced his Polaroid experiments with his series Black-Out, where everyday objects like pigeons, basketballs, and rows of trees are heavily overexposed, yet still barely visible. In Roots, he applies the same technique to plants. Over the past 15 years, Polaroid 600 has become his main medium, known for its unique quality of being both sharp and blurry at the same time. This medium allows Benhelima to play a subtle pictorial game of revealing and concealing.

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Charif Benhelima - Regeneration, 2024

Charif Benhelima

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Charif Benhelima - Regeneration, 2024

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