From coffee mugs with cute cat photos to t-shirts with holiday snapshots: applying photographs to everyday objects is so common that the phenomenon is often left unnoticed. In a brand-new series of photographs, the Swiss-Danish artist duo PUTPUT brings these photographic objects to new, insightful and surprising contexts. By doing this, the exhibitionPhotography On pushes the boundaries of contemporary photography.
Through a series of 35 vastly different objects with applied photographs, PUTPUT explore the notion of the photographic object in playful set-ups using surprising choices to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary and the mundane into mystery.
Exploring the intersection where photography, installation and design meet, PUTPUT has gained international recognition with their previous projects. Founded by SwissStephan Friedli and Dane Ulrik Martin Larsen in 2011, PUTPUT creates a visual universe that is highly stylized and profoundly superficial, with aesthetical reference to advertising, Pop Art, surrealism and classical still life art.
But the key is always a humoristic undercurrent: something twists the objects out of order. What seems to be in perfect control upon the first glance, suddenly gets transformed upon a second look.
In Photography On, the meta-level is always present: the works are photographs of objects with applied photographs. Removed from the daily flood of images and taken into a museum space, PUTPUT’s selection forces us to look more carefully, paying attention to detail. This contradiction makes us notice how little attention we pay to photographs in many other situations in our day-to-day lives.
“We hope that the exhibition will contribute to the discussion of how imagery is perceived in a gallery and museum context, but also in the visual world we constantly live in. We encourage people to open their eyes again and see all the different ways photography affects us”, Friedli and Larsen conclude.
Established in 2011 by Stephan Friedli (CH) and Ulrik Martin Larsen (DK) and currently based in Copenhagen, PUTPUT is the visual and conceptual meeting of two minds, a collaboration in thought and practice. Neatly placed between input and output we navigate the increasingly busy intersection where photography, sculpture and design meet. A shared and deeply rooted fascination with metaphysical relationships connected to everyday objects guides and perpetuates our work.
"We live in a time that can be described as a renaissance of imagery. We consume images more than ever. A person nowadays sees more images before lunch than someone in the 18th century saw in their entire life. We have become a species of editors and consumers of images. Undoubtedly this has been a great source of inspiration for the artist collective PutPut during the realisation of the project ‘Photography On’.
The days when pictures of one's offspring were only showcased in neatly arranged frames on top of the fireplace are long gone. Nowadays you can print photographs on literally anything. Whether you want your dog to grace the cover of your smartphone, or rather have the face of your beloved on the display of a clock; you got it. It has become such a common phenomenon that we hardly notice these photographic hybrids anymore. And that’s a shame because when used cleverly, it pushes the boundaries of contemporary photography.
Customization is the new mass production. So as a reaction to the overload of imagery we live amongst and the numbness we have inherently developed for it, PutPut made a selection of image based objects. With their version of these mundane objects, they confront us with our automized view towards the printed objects we constantly live with. PutPut encourage you to open your eyes again and to think more about the use of photography in our everyday lives."