Ben Maxwell’s practice is made up of two levels. The first level of his practice is concerned with Heideggerian philosophy and the self-disclosure of being. His practice emphasises the importance of being’s 'secret' in order to encourage a more lateral way of thinking that seems suitable for an age of ecological crisis.
However, his practice makes this emphasis in a way that elaborates on the ironies and contradictions that such an emphasis might be made in an artwork made by him. Thus, the second level of his practice explores how the secret of being might be filtered through his own exceptional experience and identity - his secrets.
It is this second level of Ben's practice that he feels to be more relevant for contemporary art and the socio-political environment in which it finds itself, both because of its acknowledgement of the primacy of identity, and because it involves a suspension, abstraction and deconstruction of the self.
Here, Heidegger's 'earth' – mute surface that obtrudes in an artwork – is presented in the form of supplemented foam dioramas. Thus, the secret of being is filtered through an infantile impulse to control and a soft death-drive.
Ascogbank Pasta Animals is a psychogeographical investigation undertaken at an isolated house on an island off the west coast of the UK. The house has a grand, Georgian façade that stands fixed in its view of two key elements of Ben's immediate psychosocial environment: the island seaview and the garden.