Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Benjamin Cohen.
Lives in London, UK
How do you describe your own art practice?
My practice is, and has always been, transitional. It spirals forwards, selecting and discarding ideas, materials and processes that feel appropriate or useful in the present. In this sense, ways of working that had once seemed exhausted reappear, and my role is to re-potentialize and re-exhaust them again.
Which question or theme is central in your work?
Through experimentation with expanded notions of sculpture, painting and film and time-based media, as well as a continuous engagement in collaborative practice, I work with objects, films, photographs, sound and ‘structures’ to explore notions of architecture and memory.
What was your first experience with art?
An early memory: sitting in the back of my Dad’s old brown Toyota Coupé in the late 80s listening to a cassette tape of Django Reinhardt. I’m not sure if this was the first, but an undeniable experience with art nonetheless.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
The poeticism of Chris Marker’s films, as well as the writings of Philip Larkin and Octavio Paz, are a huge influence on my practice. The architectural nature of Diane Simpson and Do Ho Suh’s sculptures / installations also propel my work forwards. I frequently look to Peles Empire, Sofía Táboas, Mary Lund and Lothar Hempel for inspiration; artists whose works blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture and time-based media.
What do you need in order to create your work?
My approach to making is akin to collage; my studio is full of objects, images, geometric forms and structures – I attempt to establish new meanings and connections between them by bringing one in-situ with another.
To make work like this requires research, intuition and luck.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
Mariana Castillo Deball’s ‘archeological’ installations, sculptures, photographs and drawings relentlessly surprise me – particularly her plaster cast works in response to monolithic Mayan stone monuments.