At first glance, Frank Kunert's photographs appear to portray scenes of everyday environments — concrete buildings, playgrounds, dining rooms, hotels, etc. Take a closer look, however, and you'll find that things aren't quite what they seem. In fact, his photographs depict a series of 'small worlds' — miniature scenes that the German artist has carefully constructed — that subvert the audience's expectations and play with our sense of perception.
A photograph of a miniature Museum of Contemporary Art, titled 'At a High Level' shows a museum on stilts, with no way to reach the steps; while 'Office Nap' depicts a desk that doubles as a cot. There's a sense of dark satire running throughout Kunert's works, reinforced by an eerie lack of people, overcast skies and grey buildings. Parallels with the surrealist movement are hard to ignore: the audience is encouraged to question their sense of perception as well as the social zeitgeists that we rely so heavily on.
Kunert invests an extensive amount of time — often weeks on end — building his miniature worlds and perfecting studio lighting. He then photographs them with a large-format analog camera. His approach is meticulous and highly considered, with the utmost attention to detail afforded to each element of his scenes.
In an essay in the photo book Wunderland, Elizabeth Clarke writes of Kunert's work: "His constructions are reflections of our fears and needs, but also of our desires. They bring home the absurdity of the everyday: the grotesque attempts to organise our lives, the disappearance of old traditions, the way we deal with one another and with our history".
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