Graduated and Master in Fine Arts at the Higher Institute Sint Lucas (Brussels, 1990-1995), Laureate at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts – HISK (Antwerp, 1995-1998) and graduated in Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography – ICP (New York, 1999-2000), Charif Benhelima (°1967) is a Belgian photo-artist who lives and works in Antwerp. Nominated for his complete oeuvre for the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography 2008 (Harvard University/Peabody Museum), Benhelima investigates the notion of identity, memory/oblivion, document, and truth through images that explore perception, time and space, and a sense of invisibility. His diverse formal and conceptual research compose nevertheless a coherent and singular oeuvre. Averse to artistic formulas and wishing to restart afresh, Benhelima initiated his experiments with the instantaneous polaroid film – until today his main support – embarking on a type of counter-current to the present inclination for digital images and new media. Charif Benhelima explores the idea of abstraction, even if figuratively, through reflections, counterlight, shadows, bipartite images, and the flou that is characteristic of Polaroid. Benhelima proposes a criticism of representation that resides in the very formal and symbolic aspects of the images, which demand of the viewer the revisi-on of his/her own perception.
-Fragments of text – Daniella Géo