We're excited to share the story behind Benoit Pailley's personal project, "Monolith", a series that we at Dripbook found powerful in its solitude. Benoit is a photographer that lives and works in New York and Paris. He is inspired by contemporary art and his passion is reflected in his elegant still life and installation photography.
These images are a part of a personal project, Monolith.
Since I was ten years old, I made installations with concrete. Personal and commercial projects. Creating concrete installations is quite a heavy and long process. You need to create the mold, make the concrete, then take the mold out, and wait a few days to make sure the piece is dry and has the right, dry color.
Five years ago I decided to try to use aerated concrete for a sculpture project. This process is the opposite of that previously described. In this process you use the front of the piece of rock and cut on it, removing the material, building the volume as desired. After this, the second part of the project can start, the photoshoot, where you create the image of the art piece. I did this project in my studio in Paris.
The first approach was to start from a full block of element and to eliminate material to keep the rest you like. The game is to dance between the process and the result. The way you play your hand around the rock is important.
When the piece is done, the monolith created, the second part of the game was to put it in a kind of moony area for the photoshoot. The setting needed to be dry and deserty with enough grain for when you imagine caressing it with your eyes. When you prepare the work, you saw, then you caress it to feel it, then you cut again. Then you mix plaster and paint to have the finish you expect. The full process is a wave in the ocean, it’s quite difficult to explain from each drop of water.
With this project, I thought a lot about silence. The silence after the time of process. In silence there is time. In time there is place. In this project I feel the sentiment of time off and nowhere. It’s empty, it’s free and yet the monolith gets the power of itself.
My favorite part of working on Monolith was the full process. To build with my hands and to photograph it. To use the saw and to play with the light.
If I had one piece of advice for aspiring creative professionals it would be, "listen to the silence."
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