The HENI Project Space on the ground floor of the historic Hayward Gallery, where the exhibition Kiss my Genders is currently on display (until 9 September), contains the micro-worlds created by Moroccan artist Hicham Berrada for his first solo exhibition in the UK. Berrada’s work explores the scientific protocols that reproduce different natural processes and weather conditions.
Mathematical Omens (2019), Portent, cross-section (2019) and Mineral Matrices (2017) are conceived as structured micro-environments within containers, be they water columns, or digital environments. In these works Berrada creates the conditions that replicate natural phenomena and observes these in their vitality and ability to transform themselves through morphogenetic processes, biological conditions that cause an organism to change its form.
The bronze sculptures contained in the tanks filled with water in Mineral Matrices undergo chemical processes of erosion, accelerated or not by the artist; an intervention that models time and makes visible natural processes which are usually invisible to the human eye.The chemical solutions in Portent, cross-section give shape to structures that reproduce geological formations.
In the digital environment of the video installation Mathematical Omens, on the other hand, the shapes are generated by equations which mimic the way in which the elements of the natural world – including roots, clouds and lichens – develop or change their form. Berrada creates 3D-printed sculptures using the same set of algorithms.
With Berrada, the idea of sculpture is extended. In conversation with the exhibition curator, Eimear Martin, the artist actually describes himself as a ‘sculptor of enviroments, in other words the creator of conditions related to the containers hosting the environment, his real starting point, be it solid or liquid. At this point, the creative act is given over to the process which intervenes in the form of whatever lives inside these particular frames, with unforeseeable procedures and results, endlessly changing. “Everything appears independently of me, whether they have been activated through chemical reactions or mathematical algorithms.”
Hicham Berrada: Dreamscapes, HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery, London, 3.07 –18.08. 2019
images: (cover – 1) Hicham Berrada, «Augure mathématique (Mathematical Omen)», 2019. Installation view of Activations kamel mennour, Paris, 2019. ©ADAGP Hicham Berrada. © photo.archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London (2) Hicham Berrada, «Augure mathématique (Mathematical Omen #1)», 2018, ADAGP. © Hicham Berrada © photo.archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London (3) Hicham Berrada, «Matrices Minérales», 2017. Installation view of Jardins d’hiver, Jardins du Château de Versailles, 2017 – 18. © Hicham Berrada. © Photo archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London (4) Hicham Berrada, «Augure mathématique (Mathematical Omen #1)», 2018, detail. © ADAGP Hicham Berrada © photo.archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London (5) Hicham Berrada, «Présage tranche (Portent, cross-section)», 2007 – ongoing. © Photo Laurent Lecat. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London