Benjamin Swanson

Benjamin Swanson

United Kingdom, born in 1989

A cross between still-life photography and sculpture, The Conquest of Materials is conceived as a series of geometrical constructions — polystyrene spheres, copper tubes, octagons, paving-stones, etc. — realised and reworked in studio. In his workshop-cum-laboratory, Swanson exploits an image bank of abstract representations taken from mathematics and science, ridding them of their original meaning and exploring them in a purely aesthetic fashion.

To this end, Swanson employs dynamic points of view and an elaborate approach to lighting that brings out the texture of each object. The Conquest of Materials is thereby the direct descendant of early researches by the “engineer photographers” of the twentieth-century avant-garde, who directed their energies to experimental photographic practices in which the medium is treated primarily as an objective tool for optical investigation.

If these practitioners took up modern scientific discoveries and technical advances for research purposes, Swanson opts to subvert them. Ensuring a crisp, precise rendering in a range of muted colours, the British artist thus transforms his images into ideal entities, in the pursuit, as it were, of a “perfect” artistic photographic practice.


NTU — Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom, 2011 – 2014
University of Leicaster, Leicester, United Kingdom, 2009 – 2010


Benjamin Swanson, from the series The Conquest of Materials, 2014
Inkjet prints
38,1 x 30,48 cm and 25,4 × 20,32 cm
© Benjamin Swanson

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