“Our truth rises from the belief in the photographic moment…. This belief is opening the door to a new, exciting little world full of wonders. It allows us to be explorers beyond the ordinary. To have fun while transforming weird ideas mingled from childhood dreams, TV commercials, daily newspapers and art history lessons into visual sensations that become a part of our jigsaw puzzle reality.” Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
RaebervonStenglin is delighted to present Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs’ first solo exhibition with the gallery. The Swiss duo are considered amongst the most exciting young artists working with photography today. Their images combine irony with wonder, slyly sophistication with the enchantment that a camera’s creations can bring. Working in projects whose final forms have been decided at their conception, the artists consider all aspects of image making: from the construction of their subjects — both pre- and post-production, to the endless variety of ways in which these are photographed and exhibited as art objects.
Onorato and Krebs’ method of photography — an enterprise that is at once meticulously skilled and Duchampian in its conceptual undertaking — steals the initiative from other art forms. They construct their photographs as sculptors do, building on their raw subject matter and creating scenes in which montage is written into their photographed ‘reality’. The resulting images are both humorous and philosophical, mounting a metaphysical enquiry into the possibility of authentic experience and of the nature of photography. At RaebervonStenglin, the artists are showing entirely new work, consisting of black and white as well as colour photographs, a 16 mm film — their first time using the medium — and a strange machine that creates a seemingly random rhythm of banging noises.
Man’s relationship with buildings is a motif of the exhibition which uses both front and back galleries and subtly customises the architecture to imaginatively break through the walls. The subjects and the tones of the works are deliberately ambiguous: often they adopt a serious pictorial language — familiar in its feel from canonical art works — yet use it to comical effect so that once is not sure whether witnessing a homage or a parody. Their works turns the putative honesty of photography on its head, augmenting what they depict through surprisingly low-tech, even slapstick means. Thus the positioning of a man on a ladder with a hammer shrinks high-rise buildings in his background into miniature cities, or else involves him in a hopelessly quixotic task, tilting at windmills in an attempt to single-handedly bring down buildings. One is never sure though with Onorato and Krebs’ work: “often ideas or photographs seem funny at first sight,” they have explained. “But if you think about them for a while they might also reveal a darker side. Humor often has a bitter taste hidden somewhere. This is where it gets interesting.”
Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs were both born in 1979 in Switzerland. They studied Photography at the Zürich University for the Arts and have worked together since 2003. They came to international attention with ‘The Great Unreal’ (2005 – 2009), a series photographed over several roadtrips across the United States that reinvigorated the genre. Their solo exhibitions include ‘Light of Other Days’, Foam, Amsterdam (2012); ‘The Great Unreal’, MMAM, Moscow (2012); ‘Nico Krebs vs. Taiyo Onorato’, Kunsthalle Mainz (2011); ‘Universal Studio’, Museum Bellpark, Luzern (2011); ‘Tutto Incluso’, EX3 Contemporary Art Centre, Florence (2010); ‘The Great Unreal’, Kunstagenten Gallery, Berlin (2010); ‘Caravan: Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs’, Kunsthaus Aarau (2009); ‘The Whole Shebang’, Swiss Institute, New York (2008). They live and work in Berlin.