First published: Fall 1999
Following the mouth of the Orb to the Mediterranean, not far from the French town of Beziers, you come across the unaccustomed. For over twenty years, sculptures have emerged from the hands of the Swiss painter and sculptor Benno Kaiser, sculptures made of a special material, sand.
Peculiar masks, grotesque faces, heads, humans and animals inhabit the – for the most part – empty beach. Formed from wet sand and decorated with pieces of driftwood, shells and stranded refuse (such as plastic sacks or fish nets), they are left there by their maker.
Working with sand, stranded refuse and water can be difficult. Forms break or slip away, forcing Kaiser to start again, altering his concept. Only with the correct mixture of salt water and sand is it possible to form the right material with which to sculpt. The nearly dry sand can be 'cut' razor-sharp. Built-in driftwood 'reinforcement' parts hang in mid-air.