b. 1976, London, UK. Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA
Walead Beshty's photographic and sculptural work is concerned with displacement and global transit, and has been widely exhibited internationally. Beshty's large-scale photographic works are abstract images that tell the story of their own making. Produced by folding and processing light-sensitive photographic paper, the works develop patterns of angles, creases and folds. Their colours are generated by the chemicals used in the developing process. Even though they depict abstract colours, light and shapes, Beshty's are works with a specific narrative, in the sense that they foreground the processes through which they have come into being.
Beshty's FedEx works seek to make visible a standard system for small-scale global distribution. Beshty's sculptures are designed to fit perfectly inside FedEx boxes or to match their exact dimensions, and then to be shipped from exhibition to exhibition. With each passage through their spaces of distribution, objects made of standard corporate/industrial materials, such as smoked glass and copper, shatter and accumulate marks as a result of their handling. Not only do the works (and their wounds) reveal the violence of globalization that most commodities conceal, they also demonstrate that the artwork is as vulnerable as a body moving across international borders. Beshty's works are displayed alongside the material evidence of these formative journeys—the opened boxes complete with waybills, time stamps, and dated forms.
These works also interrogate the space where contemporary art and its discourse are produced and distributed – they render the evidence of art's contextual transition as an aesthetic violence.