With “Coal, Earth, Snow or a Similar Substance,” artist Tarik Hayward creates a monumental and site-specific installation. His work, a three-tiered structure, can be seen as a kind of crane, with the help of which the artist and his helpers will carry several tons of earth step by step to the top of the installation.
With “Coal, Earth, Snow or a Similar Substance”, the Vaudois artist Tarik Hayward creates a monumental and site-specific installation. A three-tiered structure with a total height of five meters, it is covered with a white tarpaulin – a discreet reference to the history of the Red Factory. The vertical distance between the floors corresponds to the height from which a person can throw a shovel of earth. At the foot of the work there are three tons of earth, which must be brought to the top of the installation by muscle power. The sculpture can be seen as a rudimentary crane. It thus vacillates between nostalgia for a more rudimentary life and anticipation of future times in a world reduced to its essentials.
In his artistic practice, Hayward questions the status and function of work in contemporary society. His artistic practice is a critique of exploitation by the neoliberal market, including the art market. Hayward is interested in the idea of work as a primitive gesture of survival. For work as action, gives him the possibility to go beyond political and ecological problems. For Hayward, sustainability is a collective, mutual and supportive relationship between people and their environment. His work does not pursue a specific goal, but rather reflects an openness and attentiveness to the here and now.
During his two-week research phase at the Shedhalle, the artist invites the public to participate in two public moments. The first public moment is a DIY workshop, as Hayward invites us to make double-paned windows out of recycled car windows. Besides the survival aspect, these car remnants pose fundamental questions for Hayward about Fordism, mobility, and the big lie of individual freedom. The second moment relates to one of his works. “Pure Life” (2019) is named after a water from a well-known Swiss multinational company and was extracted from pig’s blood. Hayward will reproduce this exact moment of water extraction for an interested audience at the Shedhalle on December 5. This research moment will also be accompanied by an online reading or intervention by Ariana Reines (to be confirmed), with whom Hayward has already collaborated for the Pro Helvetia Cahier d’artiste publication.
Tarik Hayward has been working as a freelance artist since 2012, essentially using physical principles as assemblages, combined with the forces of cohesion and incoherence between objects and within materials and structures. He sees his work as “a series of technical experiments carried out in the urgency of an undetermined need.” One thinks of countries at war, in the process of development or reconstruction after a disaster, the making of certain community utopias, the American deserts, even backyards of thousands of obsessive tinkerers who show their results on YouTube. Tarik Hayward is interested in the material organization of crisis situations, be they economic, ecological or personal: “I work with ruins. Ruins of modernism and minimal art, maybe the ruins of craft, of a certain economic model, or simply the ruins of my childhood and lost playground.” In 2019, his monograph Cahier d’artiste/Pro Helvetia was published and he was exhibited in the Swiss Art Awards in 2015 and 2018. Hayward lives in Lausanne and Vallée de Joux.