Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dan Guerrero / Blog 06 / Karsten Wegener

     Karsten Wegener, an advertising photographer based in Berlin Germany, has had a successful commercial arts career with a roster of high profile clients. His clean arrangements of nondescript objects and his discriminating use of color creates backdrops for all manner of products and services from beers to banks to Mercedes Benz. At the heart of his aesthetic are ideas and imagery taken from the fine art world. Whether interpreting Egon Schiele’s The Scream with a slab of ham referencing the skewed head and a hard boiled egg representing the screaming mouth, or Damien Hirst’s calf and cow suspended in formaldehyde titled Mother and Child, represented by a small and large sausage in a liquid filled specimen jar, Wegener’s wit and ability to summarize are evident.
     In Wegener’s piece Puppy from 2013, Jeff Koons’ iconic work is replicated, but instead of a highly polished stainless steel colorful piece, Wegener has substituted sausage. With its dull, relatively uniform pink color you can tell that this is truly sausage, and its density comes through in the photograph. Unlike Koons’ hollow piece modeled after a twist up balloon animal that a clown at a child’s birthday party might produce, Wegener’s Puppy’s density is translated. Being visibly different, yet immediately recognizable, makes this piece a success, and the imagery being twice removed gives the piece more weight. One can start to draw inferences to humans’ ideas of their domain over animals, and not just the edible ones.

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