On the up

Contemporary artists we're tipping for success...

Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

There's a substantial bloggers' buzz surrounding the photography of Swiss duo Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs (both b. 1979), no doubt partly due to the gently surreal humour that characterises much of their work.

Answering an online compendium's quest for immediately engaging content, Onorato and Krebs soundly tick the increasingly ubiquitous kooky eyecandy box.

Fortunately, there's more to the duo's work than instant visual gratification.

TONK: Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

United by a common interest in various strands of deviant reality - accidents of nature, the fortuitously bizarre and their own, objectivity-bending interventions - Onorato and Krebs have been producing whimsically uncertain images since 2003.

The artists' photographs of an extensive American road trip - the most widely distributed online - not only provide perfect access to their combination of illusion, chance and staged realities, but also succeed in establishing a distinctive route through the well-trammelled territory of the American West, a terrain so culturally familiar that, as Krebs put it prior to the journey, "...we already know (it) without ever having been there."

In several of the works, simple sculptural props both define and refashion predominant clichás: toy-like lengths of highway loop in endless circles or force new routes through undergrowth, yet are also made subject to tricks of perspective that confound distinction from the real thing.

new contemporary photography; Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

Comedic one-liners such as an arch of fries over an almost plausible tarmac (left) are counterpoised with more uncanny images: the corpse-like remnants of a car, saturated glow of a roadside sign or eerily iridescent automobile (below).

Part David Lynch, part Fischli and Weiss, Onorato and Krebs' outsiders' view of the US functions as a metatextual response to the established tropes of the Road Trip, provoking, as in all their work, an examination of the documentary-style photograph and the framework of expectation it elicits.

new art talent; Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs
new contemporary photography; Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs
new contemporary photography; Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

February 2011


newest emerging artist >

previous emerging artists >


limited edition prints and multiples

Bookmark and Share


related articles > Michele Abeles

further articles

back to top

top picks...

video dvd release film movie cinema

Further articles

click to scroll left
Joana Vasconcelos
Joana Vasconcelos
An overview of Jacob Kassay's practice
Jacob Kassay: techniques and influences
Nora Schultz
Nora Schultz
recent art emphasises intellectual challenge
Contemporary challenge: new art gets serious
Unusual contemporary art
Medium rare: unusual art
sex and sexuality in contemporary art
The other artist: nature and art
A new art sensation - born 1915
Savage Messiah by Laura Oldfield Ford
New abstraction from the UK
How good is your knowledge of art?
Art guru? Try our art quizzes
click to scroll right
1 2 3