Jamil Hellu: Shopping Carts

Terminal 1

Feb 22, 2017 - May 16, 2017

Jamil Hellu: Shopping Carts

With his selection for the Artist In Residence Program at Recology San Francisco in 2014, Jamil Hellu was granted access to discarded items in the public disposal area of the company's transfer station. Like most artists who experience the four-month residency, Hellu found himself overwhelmed by the tremendous volume of material arriving to the facility each day. Gathering objects from an array of furniture, household appliances, musical instruments, sporting goods, and nearly every other category of manufactured wares—many of which remained unused—Hellu found himself contemplating the rampant consumerism of our economic system and the interrelated processes of production, consumption, recycling, and waste.

Shopping Carts presents selections from Hellu’s series of assemblages—compositions formed by organizing objects of similar types, shapes, and colors. Groupings of toys, balls, luggage, and audio equipment are artfully composed within the confines of that most potent symbol of consumerism—the shopping cart. This manufactured detritus is contrasted sharply against colorful backdrops that reinforce the unity of Hellu’s assemblages with sly reference to the slick presentation of commercial advertisements. Hellu is interested in the role played by objects in “how we create and negotiate our identities.” His images encourage the viewer to reflect on the relationship between his or her own identity and the economic system in which we all participate.

Brazilian-born Jamil Hellu is a visual artist based in San Francisco who works primarily with photography and video installation. Hellu received his Bachelors in Fine Arts in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and earned a Masters in Fine Arts in Art Practice from Stanford University. He was granted a six-month residency at the Cité International des Arts in Paris in 2008, and he received the Graduate Fellowship Award at Headlands Center for the Arts in 2010­–11. Hellu was awarded the 2015–16 Kala Art Institute Fellowship in Berkeley, and he was recently selected by the Fleishhacker Foundation for the 2018 Eureka Fellowship. In addition to his art practice, Hellu currently teaches photography in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. 

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